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The Capitoline Hill (one of the original 7 Hills of Rome) is located near the center of modern Rome.  The top of the hill is occupied by a small piazza, Campidoglio,  with no major streets entering or leaving it.  It's unique in that it and the buildings around it were all designed by Michelangelo.  His genius shows through in the effort.

The Capitoline Hill was occupied by the Romans and their predecessors far into the past.  A temple of Jupiter was built there in the 5th century BC.  After assassinating Julius Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators locked themselves into that temple before fleeing Rome to field an army. 



 The centerpiece of Campidoglio is the equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.  The statue was not to Michelangelo's liking but Pope Paul III, who commissioned him to design the piazza in 1536, thought the statue was of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome and insisted on its use.  The statue has been replaced by an exact copy and the original is housed in a museum.



The Cordonata, the pedestrian ramp, goes from the street Via del Teatro di Marcello up to the Campidoglio.




View to the left going up the Cordonata.  The white structure is Il Vittoriano and the brick structure is the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.




Statues of Castor and Pollux flank the Cordonata.




On the east side of the piazza stands the Palazzo Senatorio.  The intent of the latest incarnation of the hilltop was to have all the important government buildings clustered in one place.




The Palazzo Nuova was built in 1654 to close off the Campidoglio from the church of Santa Maria of Aracoeli.  A mirror image of the plans for the facade of the Palazzo Conservatori by Michelangelo.




The Palazzo Conservatori was built earlier on the same ground that the ancient Temple of Jupiter occupied.  The building was renovated and a new facade added by Michelangelo.




The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius dates back to 176 AD and is the only equestrian statue of a Roman Emperor to have survived imperial times.




Castor and Pollux from the Campidoglio.




A shady area off in the northeast corner of Campidoglio.  There are some great views of the city from here.




Looking south from Campidoglio, one sees into the Roman Forum which occupied the small valley between the Capitoline Hill and the Palatine Hill.  The domed church in the background is the church of San Giuseppi de Falangani.  Beneath that church are two floors of cells that comprised the Mamertine Prison.  The bottom floor contained the cells in which St. Peter and St. Paul were held prior to their execution.  The church was, of course, built later atop the prison.




A view due south through the Roman Forum.  The large object on the far horizon is the Coliseum.




A little telephoto action to bring the Coliseum up closer.  The church and campanile on this side are the church of Santa Francesca Romana built in the 10th century AD.




Off to the southeast are the ruins of the Forum of Julius Caesar being excavated.  The domed church standing over it is the Church of Saints Luke and Martina from 625 AD.




More of Caesar's forum.  The 3 columns are the remains of the Temple of Venus Genetrix from 46 BC.




A view to the east shows some of the excavations of the Imperial Forums.




Going back out to the street, Via del Teatro di Marcello, where we entered Campidoglio, there is an interesting set of ruins unearthed there on the hillside just below the piazza.  These are referred to as the Capitoline Insula.  The term Insula refers to the Roman style of building with shops on the ground floor and residential quarters on the upper 3 floors.  This was the prevalent style of housing during the 1st and 2d centuries AD when these buildings were built.




The ground floor of these buildings is 27 feet below the current grade level.  




The original insula were four stories high.  During medieval times, buildings were built above the insula.  This frescoe of Christ descending from the Cross was from construction during the 17th Century AD.




The insula were uncovered in the 1930s when the Capitoline Hill was being shaped for the completion of the nearby Il Vittoriano.


The passages penetrate a good ways back into the Capitoline Hill.




Down the street a kilometer or so is the namesake of the street, the Teatro di Marcello or Theater of Marcellus.  It's the only surviving ancient open air theater in Rome.  Its construction was started under Julius Caesar and it was completed and dedicated by Augustus Caesar in 12 BC.  Only the one wall remains.  It has been incorporated as a part of the newer building adjacent to it. It's considered likely that the facade inspired the design of the facade for the Coliseum.