Surrounded on three sides by stately palaces, the Piazza del Campidoglio, a superb piece of town planning, is one of the most beautiful civic spaces in Rome.
The Piazza del Campidoglio was designed by Michelangelo, who added the balustrade on the open side and the Cordonata, the stepped ramp leading up to it. The colossal statues of Castor and Pollux were unearthed in the 16th century. To either side of them are the so-called 'Trophies of Marius'. The statues of the emperor Constantine the Great and his son Constantine II come from the Baths of Constantine on the Quirinal Hill, while the columns at each end of the balustrade were the first and seventh milestones of the Via Appia.
At the back of the piazza is the Palazzo Senatorio, while on either side stand the Palazzo dei Conservatori (south) and the Palazzo Nuovo. The Palazzo dei Conservatori dates back to the 15th century, but its facade is the work of Michelangelo. The Palazzo Nuovo, whose facade is almost a replica of that of Palazzo dei Conservatori, was not built until the middle of the 17th century.
In the centre of the square, on a base designed by Michelangelo, stands the bronze
equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-180). The statue is a copy; the original is on display in the Musei Capitolini, the museum that is housed in the two side palaces.
Michelangelo's distinctive design for the pavement of the piazza wasn't realised until 1940.
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 and
small-group walking tours
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