Piazza del Campidoglio
Lonely Planet review for Piazza del Campidoglio
This elegant piazza, designed by Michelangelo in 1538, is the centrepiece of the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill), one of the seven hills on which Rome was founded. In ancient times, Rome's two most important temples stood here: one dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus and the other (which housed Rome's mint) to Juno Moneta. More than 2000 years on, the hill is still a political powerhouse as the seat of Rome's municipal government.
You can reach the piazza from the Roman Forum, but the most dramatic approach is via the Cordonata, the graceful staircase that leads up from Piazza d'Ara Coeli. At the top, the piazza is bordered by three palazzi: Palazzo Nuovo to the left, Palazzo Senatorio straight ahead, and Palazzo dei Conservatori on the right. Together, Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori house the Capitoline Museums, while Palazzo Senatorio is home to Rome's city council.
In the centre, the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius is a copy. The original, which dates from the 2nd century AD, is in the Capitoline Museums.