In 1471 Pope Sixtus IV (r. 1471-84) donated to the people of Rome five ancient bronzes (including the famous She-wolf and the Spinario), which were deposited in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitoline hill. Over the centuries this nucleus was enriched with finds and acquisitions to create one of the greatest collections of classical sculptures in the world.
The collection is now housed in three buildings: the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino and the Palazzo Nuovo, under the name of the Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums).
One of the most famous exhibits in the collection is the bronze equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-80), the only one of its kind to have survived (almost intact) from the days of ancient Rome.
In the 1990s a new hall was built in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori to house the statue, which since 1538 had graced the Piazza del Campidoglio.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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