The birth of Musei Capitolini dates from 1471, when Pope Sisto IV gave the roman people a set of bronze statues, forming the first set of the collection kept in the Laterano till then. Afterwords, the popes increased these collections with works coming from the excavations of Rome, the Vatican or purchased purposely for the musuem, as the Collezione Albani.
At the end of the 19th Century, the archaeological collections remarkably enriched with the findings of the excavations during the edification of entire areas of the city, already became capital of Italy.
The collections of the Musei Capitolini are exposed inside the two buildings that together with the Palazzo Senatorio bound Piazza del Campidoglio, Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, linked together with an underground gallery housing the Galleria Lapidaria and leading to the ancient Tabularium, whose monumental arcades overlook the Roman Forum.
The collections of ancient sculptures outcoming from the big noble families of past centuries are kept in the Palazzo Nuovo. Besides, the collections of philosophers and roman emperors' busts as the statues of Galata Morente and Venere Capitolina and the stately statue of Marforio dominating the courtyard are very famous too.
Palazzo dei Conservatori shows the architectural nucleus of the building, decorated with wonderful frescos displaying the stories about Rome and ennobled by the ancient Capitoline bronzes: la Lupa, lo Spinario, il Bruto Capitolino. The windowpane room recently realized on the first floor of the building preserves the equestrian bronze statue of Marco Aurelio, formerly on the Capitoline square, and the impressive ruins of the Tempio di Giove Capitolino, flanked by a section dedicated to the most ancient history of the Campidoglio.
In the chronologically ordered path going from late Middle Ages to the 18th Century on the second floor, the Pinacoteca Capitolina presents works of great significance as the paintings of Caravaggio, the big painting of Guercino Il seppellimento di Santa Petronilla and a large set of paintings of Guido Reni and Pietro da Cortona. In the Palazzo Caffarelli-Clementino there are the Medagliere Capitolino with its rich collections of coins, medals, gems and jewels, as well as a room dedicated to the temporary exhibitions.
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