Capitoline Hill

The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill (/ˈkæpɪtəˌlaɪn, kəˈpɪ-/;[1][2] Latin: Mōns Capitōlīnus [ˈmoːns kapɪtoːˈliːnʊs]; Italian: Campidoglio [kampiˈdɔʎʎo]), between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome.

The hill was earlier known as Mons Saturnius, dedicated to the god Saturn. The word Capitolium first meant the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus later built here, and afterwards it was used for the whole hill (and even other temples of Jupiter on other hills), thus Mons Capitolinus (the adjective noun of Capitolium). Ancient sources refer the name to caput ("head", "summit") and the tale was that, when laying the foundations for the temple, the head of a man was found,[3] some sources even saying it was the head of some Tolus or Olus. The Capitolium was regarded by the Romans as indestructible, and was adopted as a symbol of eternity.[4][5]

By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, and Capitolium Campidoglio. The Capitoline Hill contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are almost entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palaces (now housing the Capitoline Museums) that surround a piazza, a significant urban plan designed by Michelangelo.

Influenced by Roman architecture and Roman republican times, the word Capitolium still lives in the English word capitol.[6] The Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. is widely assumed to be named after the Capitoline Hill, but the relation is not clear.[7]

Coordinates: 41°53′36″N 12°28′59″E / 41.89333°N 12.48306°E

The Capitoline Hill
One of the seven hills of Rome
Latin nameCollis Capitolinus
Italian nameCampidoglio
BuildingsCapitoline Museums and Piazza del Campidoglio, Palazzo Senatorio, Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Nuovo, Tabularium, Aedes Tensarum
ChurchesSanta Maria in Aracoeli
Ancient Roman religionTemple of Jupiter, Temple of Veiovis, Ludi Capitolini, Aedes Tensarum
Roman sculpturesColossus of Constantine
Seven Hills of Rome
Schematic map of Rome showing the Seven Hills and Servian wall

Ancient history

At this hill, the Sabines, creeping to the Citadel, were let in by the Roman maiden Tarpeia. For this treachery, Tarpeia was the first to be punished by being flung from a steep cliff overlooking the Roman Forum. This cliff was later named the Tarpeian Rock after the Vestal Virgin, and became a frequent execution site. The Sabines, who immigrated to Rome following the Rape of the Sabine Women, settled on the Capitoline.[8] The Vulcanal (Shrine of Vulcan), an 8th-century BC sacred precinct, occupied much of the eastern lower slopes of the Capitoline, at the head of what would later become the Roman Forum. The summit was the site of a temple for the Capitoline Triad, started by Rome's fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus (r. 616-579 BC), and completed by the seventh and last king, Tarquinius Superbus (535–496 BC). It was considered one of the largest and the most beautiful temples in the city (although little now remains). The city legend starts with the recovery of a human skull (the word for head in Latin is caput) when foundation trenches were being dug for the Temple of Jupiter at Tarquin's order. Recent excavations on the Capitoline uncovered an early cemetery under the Temple of Jupiter.[9]

There are several important temples built on Capitoline hill: the temple of Juno Moneta, the temple of Virtus, and the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus. The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus is the most important of the temples. It was built in 509 BC and was nearly as large as the Parthenon. The hill and the temple of Jupiter became the symbols of Rome, the capital of the world.[10] The Temple of Saturn was built at the foot of Capitoline Hill in the western end of the Forum Romanum.

0 Cordonata - Dioscuri - Palazzo Senatorio (2)
The Capitoline Hill cordonata (centre of picture) leading from Via del Teatro di Marcello to Piazza del Campidoglio.

When the Senones Gauls (settled in central-east Italy) raided Rome in 390 BC, after the battle of River Allia, the Capitoline Hill was the one section of the city to evade capture by the barbarians, due to its being fortified by the Roman defenders.[11] According to legend Marcus Manlius Capitolinus was alerted to the Gallic attack by the sacred geese of Juno. When Julius Caesar suffered an accident during his triumph, clearly indicating the wrath of Jupiter for his actions in the Civil Wars, he approached the hill and Jupiter's temple on his knees as a way of averting the unlucky omen (nevertheless he was murdered six months later, and Brutus and his other assassins locked themselves inside the temple afterward).[12] Vespasian's brother and nephew were also besieged in the temple during the Year of Four Emperors (69).

The Tabularium, located underground beneath the piazza and hilltop, occupies a building of the same name built in the 1st century BC to hold Roman records of state. The Tabularium looks out from the rear onto the Roman Forum. The main attraction of the Tabularium, besides the structure itself, is the Temple of Veiovis. During the lengthy period of ancient Rome, the Capitoline Hill was the geographical and ceremonial center. However, by the Renaissance, the former center was an untidy conglomeration of dilapidated buildings and the site of executions of criminals.[13]

Medieval history

The church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is adjacent to the square, located near where the ancient arx, or citadel, atop the hill it once stood. At its base are the remains of a Roman insula, with more than four storeys visible from the street.

In the Middle Ages, the hill’s sacred function was obscured by its other role as the center of the civic government of Rome, revived as a commune in the 11th century. The city's government was now to be firmly under papal control, but the Capitoline was the scene of movements of urban resistance, such as the dramatic scenes of Cola di Rienzo's revived republic. In 1144, a revolt by the citizens against the authority of the Pope and nobles led to a senator taking up his official residence on the Capitoline Hill. The senator’s new palace turned its back on the ancient forum, beginning the change in orientation on the hill that Michelangelo would later accentuate. A small piazza was laid out in front of the senator’s palace, intended for communal purposes. In the middle of the 14th century, the guilds’ court of justice was constructed on the southern end of the piazza. This would later house the Conservatori in the 15th century.[14] As a result, the piazza was already surrounded by buildings by the 16th century.


Campidoglio Roma
View from the Piazza del Campidoglio

The existing design of the Piazza del Campidoglio and the surrounding palazzi was created by Renaissance artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536–1546. At the height of his fame, he was commissioned by the Farnese Pope Paul III, who wanted a symbol of the new Rome to impress Charles V, who was expected in 1538. This offered him the opportunity to build a monumental civic plaza for a major city as well as to reestablish the grandeur of Rome. Michelangelo's first designs for the piazza and remodeling of the surrounding palazzi date from 1536. His plan was formidably extensive. He accentuated the reversal of the classical orientation of the Capitoline, in a symbolic gesture turning Rome’s civic center to face away from the Roman Forum and instead in the direction of Papal Rome and the Christian church in the form of St. Peter’s Basilica. This full half circle turn can also be seen as Michelangelo’s desire to address the new, developing section of the city rather than the ancient ruins of the past.[15] An equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius was to stand in the middle of the piazza set in a paved oval field.[14] Michelangelo was required to provide a setting for the statue and to bring order to an irregular hilltop already encumbered by two crumbling medieval buildings set at an acute angle to one another.[16] The Palazzo del Senatore was to be restored with a double outer stairway, and the campanile moved to the center axis of the palace. The Palazzo dei Conservatori was also to be restored, and a new building, the so-called Palazzo Nuovo, built at the same angle on the north side of the piazza to offset the Conservatori, creating a trapezoidal piazza. A wall and balustrade were to be built at the front of the square, giving it a firm delineation on the side facing the city. Finally, a flight of steps was to lead up to the enclosed piazza from below, further accentuating the central axis.[14]

Piazza del Campidoglio at night
Piazza del Campidoglio at night

The sequence, Cordonata piazza and the central palazzo are the first urban introduction of the "cult of the axis" that was to occupy Italian garden plans and reach fruition in France.[17]

Executing the design was slow: Little was actually completed in Michelangelo's lifetime (the Cordonata Capitolina was not in place when Emperor Charles arrived, and the imperial party had to scramble up the slope from the Forum to view the works in progress), but work continued faithfully to his designs and the Campidoglio was completed in the 17th century, except for the paving design, which was to be finished three centuries later.


Michelangelo's systematizing of the Campidoglio, engraved by Étienne Dupérac, 1568.

The bird's-eye view of the engraving by Étienne Dupérac shows Michelangelo's solution to the problems of the space in the Piazza del Campidoglio. Even with their new facades centering them on the new palazzo at the rear, the space was a trapezoid, and the facades did not face each other squarely. Worse still, the whole site sloped (to the left in the engraving). Michelangelo's solution was radical.

The three remodelled palazzi enclose a harmonious trapezoidal space, approached by the ramped staircase called the "Cordonata". The stepped ramp of the cordonata was intended, like a slow-moving escalator, to lift its visitors toward the sky and deposit them on the threshold of municipal authority.[15] Since no "perfect" forms would work within the dimension of the plaza, his apparent ellipse in the paving is actually egg-shaped (oval), narrower at one end than at the other. The oval shape combined with the diamond pattern within it was a play on the previous Renaissance geometries of the circle and square. The travertine design set into the paving is perfectly level: Around its perimeter, low steps arise and die away into the paving as the slope requires. Its centre springs slightly, so that one senses that he/she is standing on the exposed segment of a gigantic egg all but buried at the centre of the city at the centre of the world, as Michelangelo's historian Charles de Tolnay pointed out.[18] An interlaced twelve-pointed star makes a subtle reference to the constellations, revolving around this space called Caput mundi, Latin for "head of the world." This paving design was never executed by the popes, who may have detected a subtext of less-than-Christian import, but Benito Mussolini ordered the paving completed to Michelangelo's design in 1940.

Michelangelo looked at the center to find a solution to the Capitoline disorder. The statue provided a center and a focus. The buildings defined the space, and it is this space, as much as the buildings, that is the impressive achievement of the Capitoline complex. It is a giant outdoor room, a plaza enclosed and protected but open to the sky and accessible through five symmetrical openings.[13] Axiality and symmetry govern all parts of the Campidoglio. The aspect of the piazza that makes this most immediately apparent is the central statue, with the paving pattern directing the visitors’ eyes to its base. Michelangelo also gave the medieval Palazzo del Senatore a central campanile, a renovated façade, and a grand divided external staircase. He designed a new façade for the colonnaded Palazzo dei Conservatori and projected an identical structure, the Palazzo Nuovo, for the opposite side of the piazza. On the narrow side of the trapezoidal plan, he extended the central axis with a magnificent stair to link the hilltop with the city below.[19]

Campidoglio (Palacio Senatorio) September 2015-1
Piazza del Campidoglio, on the top of Capitoline Hill, with the façade of Palazzo Senatorio.
Stanisław Masłowski (1853-1926), The Horse statue in the entrance to Capitoline Hill, Rome,1904,watercolour, 32x43.5 cm.jpeg
The Horse statue in the entrance to Capitoline Hill, watercolor by Stanisław Masłowski, 1904

Marcus Aurelius

In the middle, and not to Michelangelo’s liking, stood the original equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Michelangelo provided an unassuming pedestal for it. The sculpture was held in regard because it was thought to depict Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. The bronze now in position is a modern copy; the original is in the Palazzo dei Conservatori nearby.


He provided new fronts to the two official buildings of Rome's civic government, the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the Senatorio, and finally the Nuovo. Michelangelo designed a new façade for the dilapidated Palazzo dei Conservatori and he designed the Palazzo Nuovo to be a mirror complement, thereby providing balance and coherence to the ragged ensemble of existing structures.[13] The construction of these two buildings were carried out after his death under the supervision of Tommaso Cavalieri.[15] The sole arched motif in the entire Campidoglio design is the segmental pediments over their windows, which give a slight spring to the completely angular vertical-horizontal balance of the design. The three palazzi are now home to the Capitoline Museums.

Palazzo Caffarelli Clementino

Adjacent and now serving as an annex to the Palazzo dei Conservatori is Palazzo Caffarelli Clementino; here, short-term exhibitions are held. The palazzo was built between 1576 and 1583 by Gregory Canonico for Gian Pietro Caffarelli II. Until the cessation of World War I, the palazzo served as the German Embassy to Rome. Following the war, it was claimed by the Comune di Roma, which demolished a large section of the palazzo's east wing to create the Caffarelli Terrace.

Palazzo dei Conservatori

The Palazzo dei Conservatori ("Palace of the Conservators") was built in the Middle Ages for the local magistrates (named "Conservatori of Rome") on top of a sixth-century BC temple dedicated to Jupiter "Maximus Capitolinus". Michelangelo's renovation of it incorporated the first use of a giant order that spanned two storeys, here with a range of Corinthian pilasters and subsidiary Ionic columns flanking the ground-floor loggia openings and the second-floor windows. Michelangelo’s new portico is a reinvention of older ideas. The portico contains entablatures and a flat, coffer-like ceiling. The entablatures rest on columns set at the front of each bay, while matching half-columns stand against the back wall. Each pilaster forms a compound unit with the pier and column on either side of it. Colossal pilasters set on large bases join the portico and the upper story. All of the windows are capped with segmental pediments.[14] A balustrade fringing the roof emphasizes the emphatic horizontality of the whole against which the vertical lines of the orders rise in majestic contrast.[20] The verticality of the colossal order creates the feeling of a self-contained space while the horizontality of the entablatures and balustrades emphasize the longitudinal axis of the piazza. The palazzo’s facade was updated by Michelangelo in the 1530s and again later numerous times. In Rome the portico of the Palazzo dei Conservatori sheltered offices of various guilds. Here disputes arising in the transaction of business were adjudicated, unless they were of sufficient importance to go before a communal tribunal, such as that of the conservatori. It was a natural place for such activity. Until the 1470s the main market of the city was held on and around the campidoglio, while cattle continued to be taxed and sold in the ancient forum located just to the south.[21]

Palazzo Senatorio

Built during the 13th and 14th centuries, the Palazzo Senatorio ("Senatorial Palace") stands atop the Tabularium, which had once housed the archives of ancient Rome. Peperino blocks from the Tabularium were re-used in the left side of the palace and a corner of the bell tower. It now houses the Roman city hall, after having been converted into a residence by Giovanni Battista Piranesi for the Senator Abbondio Rezzonico in the 18th century.[22] Its double ramp of stairs was designed by Michelangelo. This double stairway to the palazzo replaced the old flight of steps and two-storied loggia, which had stood on the right side of the palace. The staircase cannot be seen solely in terms of the building to which it belongs but must be set in the context of the piazza as a whole.[14] The steps, beginning at the center of each wing, move gently upward until they reach the inner corner, level off and recede to the main surface of the façade. They then continue an unbroken stateliness toward each other, converging on the central doorway of the second story.[15] This interruption of the diagonal line and the brief inward change of direction both absorbs the central axis and links the two sides. The fountain in front of the staircase features the river gods of the Tiber and the Nile as well as Dea Roma (Minerva). The upper part of the facade was designed by Michelangelo with colossal corinthian pilasters harmonizing with the two other buildings.[23] Its bell-tower was designed by Martino Longhi the Elder and built between 1578 and 1582. Its current facade was built by Giacomo della Porta and Girolamo Rainaldi.

Palazzo Nuovo

To close off the piazza's symmetry and cover up the tower of the Aracoeli, the Palazzo Nuovo, or "New Palace", was constructed in 1603, finished in 1654, and opened to the public in 1734. Its facade duplicates to that of Palazzo dei Conservatori. In other words, it is an identical copy made using Michelangelo's blueprint when he redesigned the Palazzo dei Conservatori a century earlier.

Cordonata 1
A close up of the cordonata on the Capitoline Hill. The steps on the left lead to the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.


A balustrade, punctuated by sculptures atop the giant pilasters, capped the composition, one of the most influential of Michelangelo's designs. The two massive ancient statues of Castor and Pollux that decorate the balustrades are not the same as those posed by Michelangelo, which now are in front of the Palazzo del Quirinale.[10]


Next to the older and much steeper stairs leading to the Aracoeli, Michelangelo devised a monumental wide-ramped stair (the cordonata), gradually ascending the hill to reach the high piazza, so that the Campidoglio resolutely turned its back on the Roman Forum that it had once commanded. It was built to be wide enough for horse riders to ascend the hill without dismounting. The railings are topped by the statues of two Egyptian lions in black basalt at their base and the marble renditions of Castor and Pollux at their top.

See also


  1. ^ "Capitoline". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  2. ^ "Capitoline - definition of Capitoline in English from the Oxford dictionary". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  3. ^ La Regina, Adriano, ed. (2007) [2004]. Archaeological Guide to Rome. Richard Sadleir (trans.) (New update ed.). Electa. p. 105.
  4. ^ Capitolium in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  5. ^ Serv. ad Verg. A. 8, 345, and Arn. 6, p. 194
  6. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Capitol". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  7. ^ Hodgkins, George W. (1960). "Naming the Capitol and the Capital". Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 60/62: 36–53. JSTOR 40067217.
  8. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:33
  9. ^ Albertoni and Damiani 2008
  10. ^ a b "Campidoglio" accessed march 23, 2012
  11. ^ Aicher 2004
  12. ^ Ancient Worlds: "Mons Capitolinus" Archived 2005-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ a b c Wallace, William (2010). Michelangelo: The Artist, the Man, and His Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 229–231.
  14. ^ a b c d e Von Einem, Herbert (1973). Michelangelo. London: Methuen and Co. Ltd. pp. 197–206.
  15. ^ a b c d Morgan, Charles H. (1966). The Life of Michelangelo. New York: Reynal and Company. pp. 209–211.
  16. ^ Fazio, Michael (2008). Buildings across Time: Third Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill. pp. 310–311.
  17. ^ Giedion, Siegfried (1941). Space, Time and Architecture.
  18. ^ Charles De Tolnay, 1930.
  19. ^ Fazio, Michael (2008). Buildings across Time. Boston: McGraw-Hill. pp. 310–311.
  20. ^ Morgan, Charles H. (2008). The Life of Michelangelo. New York: Reynal and Company. pp. 209–211.
  21. ^ Charles Burroughs, Michelangelo at the Campidoglio: Artistic Identity, Patronage, and Manufacture (IRSA s.c., 1993) pp. 91 "Palazzo dei Conservatori, Campidoglio (The Capitoline Hill)" Accessed March 21, 2012
  22. ^ Lowe, Adam. "Messing About With Masterpieces: New Work by Giambattista Piranesi (1720-1778)," Art in Print, Vol. 1 No. 1 (May-June 2011), p. 23 fn. 3.
  23. ^ Ackerman, James. The architecture of Michelangelo. Chicago, 1986, 154.


  • Aicher, Peter J. (2004), Rome Alive: A Source Guide to the Ancient City, Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, ISBN 978-0-86516-473-4.
  • Albertoni, M.; Damiani, I. (2008), Il tempio di Giove e le origini del colle Capitolino, Milan: Mondadori Electa, ISBN 978-88-370-6062-6.

External links

Arx (Roman)

Arx is a Latin word meaning "citadel". In the ancient city of Rome, the arx was located on the northern spur of the Capitoline Hill, and is sometimes specified as the Arx Capitolina.


A capitol is a building in which a legislature meets, including:

United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Numerous U.S. state and territorial capitols

Capitolio Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia

Capitolio Federal in Caracas, Venezuela

El Capitolio in Havana, Cuba

Capitol of Palau in Ngerulmud, PalauCapitol, capitols, or The Capitol may also refer to:

Capitol (board game), a Roman-themed board game

Capitol (The Hunger Games trilogy), a fictional city in The Hunger Games novels

Capitol (TV series), a U.S. soap opera

Capitols, former name of the Capitol Corridor passenger train route in California, United States

Capitole de Toulouse, an historic building in Toulouse, France, now used as a municipal and public-arts center

The capitouls of Toulouse, the city's former chief magistrates

Capitol Air, originally known as Capitol International Airways, an American charter airline operating from 1946 to 1982

Capitol College, a private, non-profit, and non-sectarian college located just south of Laurel, Maryland

Capitol Records, a U.S. record label

Capitol Reef National Park, a U.S. National Park in south-central Utah

Capitol Wrestling Corporation, a predecessor organization to World Wrestling Entertainment

Capitoline Hill in Rome (from which the word capitol derives)

Capitolium, the temple for the Capitoline Triad in many cities of the Roman Empire

The Capitol (Hong Kong), a large private housing estate in Hong Kong

The Capitol (Fayetteville, North Carolina), department store

The Capitols, a Detroit, Michigan-based soul trio

Capitol (collection), a book by Orson Scott Card

Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums (Italian: Musei Capitolini) is a single museum containing a group of art and archaeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the Capitoline Hill in Rome, Italy. The historic seats of the museums are Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, facing on the central trapezoidal piazza in a plan conceived by Michelangelo in 1536 and executed over a period of more than 400 years. The history of the museums can be traced to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated a collection of important ancient bronzes to the people of Rome and located them on the Capitoline Hill. Since then, the museums' collection has grown to include a large number of ancient Roman statues, inscriptions, and other artifacts; a collection of medieval and Renaissance art; and collections of jewels, coins, and other items. The museums are owned and operated by the municipality of Rome.

The statue of a mounted rider in the centre of the piazza is of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It is a copy, the original being housed on-site in the Capitoline museum.

Opened to the public in 1734 under Clement XII, the Capitoline Museums are considered the first museum in the world, understood as a place where art could be enjoyed by all and not only by the owners.

Capitoline Triad

The Capitoline Triad was a group of three deities who were worshipped in ancient Roman religion in an elaborate temple on Rome's Capitoline Hill (Latin Capitolium). It comprised Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The triad held a central place in the public religion of Rome.


Carmentalia was the two feast days (11 January and 15 January) of the Roman goddess Carmenta. She had her temple atop the Capitoline Hill. Carmenta was invoked in it as Postvorta and Antevorta, epithets which had reference to her power of looking back into the past and forward into the future. The festival was chiefly observed by women.

Clivus Capitolinus

The main road to the Roman Capitol, the Clivus Capitolinus ("Capitoline Rise") starts at the head of the Forum Romanum beside the Arch of Tiberius as a continuation of the Via Sacra; proceeding around the Temple of Saturn and turning to the south in front of the Portico Dii Consentes, it then climbs up the slope of the Capitoline Hill to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus at its summit. This was traditionally the last and culminating portion of all Roman triumphs.

The street is significant as one of the oldest roads in Rome as well as its central location around temples and judicial offices leading to the largest and most important of the Republican Temples. Julius Caesar is said to have climbed this road on his knees to offset a bad omen during his triumph.

The earliest history of the road as well as the hill itself is not completely clear as much of Rome's earliest records were destroyed in a sacking of the city. The road may have been part of the original route to the Sabine settlement altered when the Temple of Saturn was built. The hills of Rome have an extensive amount of construction built on top of ancient Etruscan stones that can be seen at the rear of the remaining chambers of the Portico Dii Consentes.

Insula dell'Ara Coeli

The Insula dell'Ara Coeli is a rare surviving example of an insula, the kind of apartment blocks where many Roman city dwellers resided. It was built during the 2nd century AD, and rediscovered, under an old church, when Benito Mussolini initiated a plan for massive urban renewal of Rome's historic Capitoline Hill neighbourhood.Four floors remain. The ground floor consisted of shops that faced the surrounding streets, with the owners using ladders to access living quarters immediately above. A mezzanine lay above the shop level. The two remaining floors seem to have been designed for human residence. The third floor seemed to be large, spacious apartments. The fourth floor had a corridor with a series of three room suites leading off of it. Archeologist Andrew Wallace-Hadrill suggested that with a little imagination, these suites are comparable to apartments in which many 21st century Roman families live. Archeologists believe the structure was originally built with at least five stories.

It has been evaluated that the insula romana could host around 380 people.

Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia (Italian: [ˈpjattsa veˈnɛttsja]) is the central hub of Rome, Italy, in which several thoroughfares intersect, including the Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Via del Corso. It takes its name from the Palazzo Venezia, built by the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo (later Pope Paul II) alongside the church of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice. The Palazzo Venezia served as the embassy of the Republic of Venice in Rome.

One side of the Piazza is the site of Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altare della Patria, part of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy.

The piazza or square is at the foot of the Capitoline Hill and next to Trajan's Forum. The main artery, the Via di Fori Imperiali begins there and leads past the Roman Forum to the Colosseum.

Capitalizing on this modern and ancient symbolism--and the useful open space--Piazza Venezia was the location of public speeches given by the Italian dictator Mussolini to crowds of his supporters in the 1920s-1940s.

In 2009, during excavations in the middle of the square for the construction of the Rome C Metro Line (station Venezia), remains of the emperor Hadrian's Athenaeum were unearthed.

Piazza d'Aracoeli

Piazza d'Aracoeli is a square of Rome (Italy), placed at the base of the Capitoline Hill, in the Rione X Campitelli.

Seven hills of Rome

The seven hills of Rome (Italian: Sette colli di Roma [ˈsɛtte ˈkɔlli di ˈroːma], Latin: Septem colles/montes Romae) east of the river Tiber form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the city.

The seven hills are:

Aventine Hill (Latin, Aventinus; Italian, Aventino)

Caelian Hill (Cælius, Celio)

Capitoline Hill (Capitolinus, Campidoglio)

Esquiline Hill (Esquilinus, Esquilino)

Palatine Hill (Palatinus, Palatino)

Quirinal Hill (Quirinalis, Quirinale)

Viminal Hill (Viminalis, Viminale)The Vatican Hill (Latin Collis Vaticanus) lying northwest of the Tiber, the Pincian Hill (Latin Mons Pincius), lying to the north, and the Janiculum Hill (Latin Ianiculum), lying to the west, are not counted among the traditional Seven Hills.


In Roman mythology, Tarpeia , daughter of the Roman commander Spurius Tarpeius, was a Vestal virgin who betrayed the city of Rome to the Sabines at the time of their women's abduction for what she thought would be a reward of jewellery. She was instead crushed to death and her body cast from the southern cliff of Rome's Capitoline Hill, thereafter called Tarpeian Rock (Rupes Tarpeia).

Tarpeian Rock

The Tarpeian Rock (; Latin: Rupes Tarpeia or Saxum Tarpeium; Italian: Rupe Tarpea) is a steep cliff of the southern summit of the Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Roman Forum in Ancient Rome. It was used during the Roman Republic as an execution site. Murderers, traitors, perjurors, and larcenous slaves, if convicted by the quaestores parricidii, were flung from the cliff to their deaths. The cliff was about 25 meters (80 ft) high.

Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus

The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus (Latin: Aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini; Italian: Tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo; English: "Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest on the Capitoline") was the most important temple in Ancient Rome, located on the Capitoline Hill. It had a cathedral-like position in the official religion of Rome, and was surrounded by the Area Capitolina, a precinct where certain assemblies met, and numerous shrines, altars, statues and victory trophies were displayed.

The first building was the oldest large temple in Rome, and can be considered as essentially Etruscan architecture. It was traditionally dedicated in 509 BC, but in 83 BC it was destroyed by fire, and a replacement in Greek style completed in 69 BC (there were to be two more fires and new buildings). For the first temple Etruscan specialists were brought in for various aspects of the building, including making and painting the extensive terracotta elements of the Temple of Zeus or upper parts, such as antefixes. But for the second building they were summoned from Greece, and the building was presumably essentially Greek in style, though like other Roman temples it retained many elements of Etruscan form. The two further buildings were evidently of contemporary Roman style, although of exceptional size.

The first version is the largest Etruscan temple recorded, and much larger than other Roman temples for centuries after. However, its size remains heavily disputed by specialists; based on an ancient visitor it has been claimed to have been almost 60 m × 60 m (200 ft × 200 ft), not far short of the largest Greek temples. Whatever its size, its influence on other early Roman temples was significant and long-lasting. Reconstructions usually show very wide eaves, and a wide colonnade stretching down the sides, though not round the back wall as it would have done in a Greek temple. A crude image on a coin of 78 BC shows only four columns, and a very busy roofline.With two further fires, the third temple only lasted five years, to 80 AD, but the fourth survived until the fall of the empire. Remains of the last temple survived to be pillaged for spolia in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, but now only elements of the foundations and podium or base survive; as the subsequent temples apparently reused these, they may partly date to the first building. Much about the various buildings remains uncertain.

Temple of Jupiter Stator (8th century BC)

The Temple of Jupiter Stator was a sanctuary on the slope of the Capitoline Hill. In Roman legend, it was founded by King Romulus after he pledged to build it during a battle between the Roman army and that of the Sabines.

Temple of Saturn

The Temple of Saturn (Latin: Templum Saturni or Aedes Saturni; Italian: Tempio di Saturno) was an ancient Roman temple to the god Saturn. Its ruins stand at the foot of the Capitoline Hill at the western end of the Roman Forum. The original dedication of the temple is traditionally dated to 497 BC, but ancient writers disagreed greatly about the history of this site.

Temple of Veiovis

The Temple of Veiovis in ancient Rome was the temple of the god Veiovis.

Temple of Venus Erycina (Capitoline Hill)

The Temple of Venus Erycina (Latin: Aedes Veneris Erycinae) was a temple on the Capitoline Hill in Ancient Rome dedicated to Venus Erycina. This was an aspect of the goddess Venus. Later this temple was probably called the Temple of the Capitoline Venus (Aedes Veneris Capitolinae). There was another temple with the same name in Rome, the Temple of Venus Erycina (Quirinal Hill).

Via Sacra

The Via Sacra (Latin: Via Sacra) (Sacred Road) was the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through some of the most important religious sites of the Forum (where it is the widest street), to the Colosseum.

The road was part of the traditional route of the Roman Triumph that began on the outskirts of the city and proceeded through the Roman Forum.

In the 5th century BC, the road was supported by a super-structure to protect it from the rain. Later it was paved and during the reign of Nero it was lined with colonnades.

The road provided the setting for many deeds and misdeeds of Rome's history, the solemn religious festivals, the magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the Basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice. Many prostitutes lined the street as well, looking for potential customers. From the reign of Augustus, the Via Sacra played a role in the Apotheosis ceremony by which deceased Roman Emperors were formally deified. The body of the Emperor, concealed under a wax death mask, was carried on a pall from the Palatine hill down the Via Sacra into the Forum, where funeral orations were held before the procession of Knights and Senators resumed its course to the Campus Martius.


Vulca was an Etruscan artist from the town of Veii. The only Etruscan artist mentioned by ancient writers, he worked for the last of the Roman kings, Tarquinius Superbus. He is responsible for creating a terracotta statue of Jupiter that was inside the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, and possibly the Apollo of Veii. His statue of Jupiter, which being made of terracotta had a red face, was so famous that victorious Roman generals would paint their faces red during their triumphal marches through Rome. Pliny the Elder wrote that his works were "the finest images of deities of that era...more admired than gold."

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