The Capitoline Museums considered the world’s oldest national museums founded in 1471. Pope Sixtus IV bequeathed valuable bronze statues to Roman citizens and this collection led to the birth of this world-famous site. There are two buildings in front of each other on Piazza del Campidoglio. Also, there you will find many sculptures, mosaics, artworks, frescoes, archeological excavations, and the art galleries. The major symbol of Rome “Lupa Capitolina” located in the museums.
The museums consist of two buildings located on the Piazza del Campidoglio: the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo. Moreover, both buildings linked by the Galleria Lapidaria, which is a tunnel located under Piazza del Campidoglio.
Palazzo dei Conservatori
The Palazzo dei Conservatori was opened in 1734 under Pope Clemet XII. There you will find a collection with paintings, sculptures, busts of famous people of that time and works by legendary Caravaggio, Tiziano, Rubens, and Tintoretto.
Moreover, the Palazzo dei Conservatori is the main entrance to the museums and previously, it was the main location of the city magistrates. Additionally, part of the ground floor is still used as a municipal register office.
Also, there is the rooftop restaurant, with the views over the city of Rome.
Glorious “She Wolf” (Lupa Capitolina) and the Ritratto di Carlo I d’Angio de Arnolfo di Cambio, which is the first sculpture of a living person, located there.
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Talking about “Lupa Capitolina”, the statue was donated to the Roman people by Pope Sixtus IV. The bronze wolf is from the 5th-century BC, but her suckling wards were added in 1471. Moreover, there are Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Medusa” and the “Spinario” from the 1st-century, which is a bronze of a boy removing a thorn from his foot.
When you enter the building, take a look at the ancient masonry located on the ground-floor courtyard, where you will find a mammoth head, foot, and hand. Importantly, these came from a 12 meters high statue of Constantine. The statue originally stood in the Basilica di Massenzio in the Roman Forum.
Upstairs, in the Pinacoteca, there are the museums’ art gallery with works from the 16th and 17th-centuries. There are several rooms with masterpieces and two of them are separate:
- The Sala Pietro da Cortona with Pietro da Cortona’s legendary depiction of the “Ratto delle Sabine” (Rape of the Sabine)
- The Sala Santa Petronella, named after Guercino’s huge canvas “Seppellimento di Santa Petronilla (The Burial of St Petronilla)
The Palazzo Nuovo dedicated primarily to the exhibition of statues, sculptures, mosaics and busts, where some of them are replicas of Greek originals.
Among the museum’s greatest works, there is the “Capitoline Venus”, a marble sculpture of the nude goddess designed between 100 and 150 A.D. Also, there is the “Galata Morente” – a Roman copy of a 3rd century BC original by Greeks, which shows the anguish of a dying Gaul warrior.
In the Hall of the Philosophers, you will find impressive busts of Greek and Roman philosophers. They had previously decorated the gardens and villas of the Roman aristocrats.
Opening hours and tickets
Booking online is here
- The museum is open daily except for Mondays from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
- Price – Adults: 15 euro
- Roman Citizens only (by showing a valid ID) – Adults: 13 euro
- A booking service for groups is available for an additional booking fee of 25 euro + the museum’s admission ticket costs. Guided tours are not included in the booking fee
- Last admission 1 hour before closing time
- The official website is here
- Guided tours are in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German. You have to book it in advance. The duration is 1 hour and 15 minutes and the price is 100 euro per group (max. of visitors depends on the museum) + the museum’s admission ticket costs
Sometimes there are long queues for tickets, so it would be a good decision to buy them online in advance
- You can choose the Capitoline Museums as one of the attractions using Roma Pass
- There are audio guides in English and a baggage desk right near the entrance for your convenience
- Tickets can be purchased with also credit cards and ATM
Getting to the Capitoline Museums
- Bus stop: Piazza Venezia. Buses: 64, 87 and electric bus 119
When in Rome, you should definitely visit the Capitoline Museums. Tell us about your experience and your famous artwork in comments!