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Rome Guide: Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums are a set of archaeological museums housed in three Palaces overlooking Piazza del Campidoglio, in Rome. The Palaces are: Palazzo Senatorio, Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Nuovo, built in different centuries but each according to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s designs, who conceived an overall plan for the Square.

Inaugurated in 1734, the Capitoline Museums were the first museums in the world to be opened to the public.

The most famous work contained in the Museums is the equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius built in the 2nd century AD, on display in the Palazzo Nuovo. In the centre of the square there is also a replica made in 1981. In the same palace are the Dying Gaul, that is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic sculpture, famous for its extremely expressive pathos, and the Discobolus, a marble statue depicting a discus thrower, copy of the lost original Greek bronze.

In the Palazzo dei Conservatori you may admire a famous Caravaggio’s painting: San Giovanni Battista and, most importantly, the Lupa Capitolina, a bronze she-wolf in the act of nursing Romulus and Remus, which is the symbol of Rome.

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