Capitoline Hill, Rome
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ADDRESS
Piazza del Campidoglio 1
00186 Rome
Italy
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ACTIVITIES
Museum
Historic Interest
Architecture
 
 
 
 

Roman sculture of a foot

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Capitoline Hill may be the lowest and least talked about mount in Rome but there are several reasons to climb the wide-ramped stairs to the summit. Not least because they were designed by Michelangelo to allow horses and donkeys to trudge up it. Piazza del Campidoglio, as the trapezoid-shaped plaza at the top is called, gave us two words, capitol and money, and the world's first museum. Here's how it all got started. Romulus built his house on Palatine but erected an asylum for exiled tribes and arx (military citadel) on Capitoline. Both acted as a barrier to his enemy, the Sabine. The Capitolium, an elaborate temple to Jupiter and Capitoline Triad, was built on Capitoline by Rome's Etruscan kings and gave the hill its name. As the winds of Rome shifted from religion to politics the look of Capitoline Hill changed too. The sacred hill became the center of city government. A commune (city hall) and Senate were built and the Temple of Juno Moneta was converted to a mint. The English word capitol comes from the Latin word capitoline; the English word money from the Latin word moneta. What about the museum? When the Papal See returned to Rome in the Renaissance the winds of change blew once again and Capitoline Hill got another facelift. Pope Paul III commissioned Michelangelo to remodel the buildings and remake the square. His job wasn't easy. The facades didn't face each other squarely and the piazza sloped to one side. To fix the problem Michelangelo made his oval egg-shaped. When the project was complete, nearly 100 years later, the city of Rome had a home for the art and artifacts the papacy no longer valued.
Getting There
 
Capitoline Hill and Capitoline Museum are located at Piazza del Campidoglio 1 and are sandwiched between the Roman Forum and Piazza Venezia. Numerous city buses stop at Piazza Venezia and along Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via del Teatro Marcello. The nearest Metro stop, Colosseo on the B line, is a 15-minute walk. A tour of the Capitoline Museum is easily combined with other Rome monuments and museums including Trajan's Market, Piazza Venezia and Roman Forum.
Hours & Times
 
The Capitoline Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 9:00 - 20:00 but closes early, at 14:00, on December 24 and 31. The Museum is closed January 1, May 1 and December 25. Of note, the ticket office closes one hour before the museum. Children's programs, free of charge and geared to kids aged 4-8, are offered from time to time throughout the year. Advance reservations are required.
Admission & Fees
 
Tickets to the Capitoline Museum can be purchased at the monument or online for an additional charge. The entrance fee is €6.5 for adults, €4.5 for EU students aged 18-24, and free of charge for EU children (under 18) and seniors (over 65). Special events are charged separately. A combined ticket, Capitoline Museums and Centrale Montemarini, is €8.5 for adults, €6.5 for students. Tourist Cards, valid for 3 days, offer discounted admission (entrance to the first 2 is free) to a variety of Rome monuments, museums and events and entitle holders to ride free on public transport. Roma Pass is €20; Roma & Più Pass costs €25. A supplement may be charged for exhibits.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
There is so much at the Capitoline Museum it is easy for little eyes to get weary. Start your tour in the exhibit halls you regard as fundamental and consider a visit to any other rooms a bonus. The bronze statues of Marcus Aurelius and Romulus and Remus as well as giant travertine sculpted hands and feet are all things kids find fun.
 
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Too much of a good thing

Submitted on 30 July 2008 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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The problem with the Capitoline Museum is that its large collection is frightfully repetitious. As my 9-year-old daughter pointed out on one recent visit, 'the hundredth bust is ninety nine too many.' 'Especially when they're all in one room.' Having said that, if you plan your visit well and limit your tour to just a few rooms the kids may just come out exclaiming, 'Hey, that was fun.' Of note, while my daughter enjoyed the kids program she felt too old for the group. On the day she attended most kids were aged 6-7.
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