Rome is absolutely one of my favorite cities on earth! I love the hustle, and the bustle, and the ancient history that is around every corner! One of my favorite museums in Rome is the Capitoline Museum, which houses extraordinary antiquities, including the famed She Wolf of Rome!
The creation of the Capitoline Museums has been traced back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated a group of bronze statues of great symbolic value to the People of Rome, among them the She Wolf, and the colossal head of the Emperor Constantine.
The collections in the Capitoline Museum are closely linked to the city of Rome, and most of the exhibits come from the city itself. The return to the city of some traces of Rome’s past greatness was made even more important by their collocation on the Capitoline Hill, the centre of ancient Roman religious life and seat of the civilian magistrature from the Middle Ages onwards, after a period of long decline.
The Capitoline Hill is the smallest of the famed “7 Hills of Ancient Rome” and was originally made up of two parts: the Capitolium and the Arx, separated by a deep valley which corresponds to where Piazza del Campidoglio now stands.
The sides of this hill were very steep and on account of the difficulty of reaching the top and the dominating position it enjoyed over the River Tiber, it was chosen as the city’s main stronghold. My sister-in-law, Linda, knows all about that steepness, as we once raced each other up the steep steps to the top…..
The main buildings faced the Ancient Roman Forum, from which a carriageable road known as the Clivus Capitolinus led up the hill to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the most important and imposing temple in Rome. In addition to this temple, the Capitoline Hill was the headquarters of the Public Roman Archive, the Tabularium, and, in Republican Age, of the Mint.
Piazza del Campidoglio‘s current appearance dates back to the middle of the XV century when it was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Y’all have heard of him, right???
Tips for touring this amazing Museum, if only to see the She-Wolf of Rome:
- Climb the steep stairs to the top, catch your breath, and then proceed to the building on your right, the Palazzo dei Conservatori, to purchase tickets, which are about 15 euro per person.
- Y’all know I’m always an advocate of an audio guide, so pick one up for an additional 6 euro.
- Take your time on this side of the museum, where you will see the She-Wolf of Rome and the head of Constantine.
- One of the most striking parts of the building is a glass-covered hall. In the centre is the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, originally displayed in the Piazza del Campidoglio. In this wing, fragments of several colossal statues are preserved.
- A tunnel links Palazzo dei Conservatori to Palazzo Nuovo on the other side of the square via the Tabularium, ancient Rome’s central archive, beneath Palazzo Senatorio. The tunnel offers hallways that lead to overlooks of the Roman Forum, which are spectacular!!!!
- If you don’t have time to visit the Forum, seeing the ruins from the Tabularium is a nice alternative.
P.S. So have you been wondering this whole time about what exactly is the big deal about the She-Wolf? In the Roman foundation myth, it was a she-wolf that nursed and sheltered the twins Romulus and Remus after they were abandoned in the wild. She cared for the infants at her den, a cave known as the Lupercal, until they were discovered by a shepherd. Romulus would later become the founder and first king of Rome. The image of the she-wolf suckling the twins has been a symbol of Rome since ancient times and is one of the most recognizable icons of ancient mythology.
For other information about touring Italy, this post discusses two sites your kids will LOVE, this posts shares insights about the perfect day-trip if you want to venture outside of Rome, and this post shares the BEST place for an authentic Tuscan Cooking Class!
Also, if you want the info about the best guide service in Italy, click here!