Ready to visit the oldest, very first public museum in the world? The amazing collection housed in the Capitoline Museums was started by Pope Sixtus IV in 1471, and added to by several other popes over the centuries.
Lots of items displayed here came to light during archeological excavations both in the 1500-1700s, as well as in the late 1800s, when Rome was turned upside down after becoming Italy’s capital. Statues, mosaics, entire marble floors coming from ancient Roman mansions: to have a clear picture of what ancient Rome looked like, you really need to visit at least one of the city’s archeological museums!
Here, we'll see famous sculptures such as the bronze She-wolf suckling the twins, the symbol of Rome; the Dying Gaul; the Esquiline Venus; and a wealth of mosaics, paintings, vases, tapestries.
The Capitoline Museums are arguably the most important collection in town alongside with the Vatican Museums; and, similar to the Vatican, what leaves you breathless is not only the beauty and sheer number of treasures on display, but the grandeur of the buildings.
The rooms are covered in beautiful Renaissance frescoes, the carved wood gilded ceilings decorated with huge Murano glass chandeliers, and the entire complex was planned by Michelangelo.
Michelangelo also designed the square between the two wings of the museum, and here we’ll spot the beautiful star design that marks the very centre of Rome (and which you see on RomArt’s logo!).
Michelangelo decided to place the statue of emperor Marcus Aurelius in the centre of the square; however, it was replaced by a copy in 1997, and since then the original is displayed in a striking glass hall inside the museum.
The museum hides another secret: it gives you access to the underground gallery known as the Tabularium, the ancient Roman archive located underneath the present day Town Hall. From this gallery, we’ll enjoy a unique view over the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseum.