This hilltop square was designed by Michelangelo and it is among monuments and places to visit when in Rome. This elegant square is bordered by two twin buildings facing one another, Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori. A third building, Palazzo Senatorio, Rome’s historic city hall, provides a perfect perspective and architectural harmony.
You can get to Piazza del Campidoglio through different ways, but the most dramatic is a long stairs known as the Cordonata. Its wide steps offer a gentle climb to the square.
During the Middle Age, the top of the hill had fallen on hard times and was difficult to reach. That’s why Pope Paul III assigned Michelangelo the job of restoring it when the Roman Emperor Charles V planned to visit Rome on 1536.
Michelangelo realized original design, an oval shaped pavement. He rebuilt Palazzo Senatorio, seat of the Roman senate, and redesigned the facade of Palazzo dei Conservatori.
Moreover, he designed a new building, Palazzo Nuovo, just opposite Palazzo dei Conservatori. Both palazzos were positioned in such way that it changes the perspective, so the square seems larger than it actually is. Michelangelo designed the Piazza, orienting it towards the Basilica of Saint Peter, as the Vatican was the religious centre and the political centre as well.
Piazza del Campidoglio’s popularity is also due to the Capitoline Museums and the legendary sculpture of the Capitoline Wolf. The bronze statue located between Palazzo Senatorio and Palazzo Nuovo is a replica. The original is housed at the Capitoline Museums.
Walking is by far the best way to explore Rome.