Therefore Rome begins under her nourishment.
You can say that Rome is the greatest outdoor museum; the city is full of magic. I have never been to a place like this where from the morning to the night, you are strolling through 2000 years history.
The saying goes “He who travels far knows much.” and here today in Rome, I feel I learn much more than before.
After the Largo di Torre Argentina, we walk to *the* museum of Rome- Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini), which has the finest collection of sculptures. We went to the museum by using Aracoeli staircase.
Fun fact: Popular belief has it that those who climb the steps on their knees will win the Italian national lottery!
hehe, that sounds pretty challenging in real life, let me tell you folks, my observation of Rome stairs are designed with a little tilt, I am guessing because they want to prevent the accumulation of water after rain.
First of all, I have to mention this is the first museum we have for free by using our 72 hours Roma pass, which is a good deal if you are also a museum person, it will get you a lot of discount, but I will write detailed tips about Roma pass later.
After the security check the first thing you see when you enter the museum is the lovely courtyard which is another incredible photogenic place a lot of tourists come for, and also the movie “The belly of an architect” has a shot in here. The most notably head, hand and foot all come from a 12m-high statue of Constantine that originally stood in the Basilica di Massenzio in the Roman Forum. Constantine the Great’s face is everywhere spread out through the whole city, you will recognize him immediately.
The second floor has the one and only She-wolf of Rome, La Lupa. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of the statue which I had saw many times on TV show or book, THE She-wolf of Rome! I was thrilled and mind-blown! OMG, I was witnessing the mythological Rome history figure where it all begins, eternal. both of us are speechless and getting goosebump.
The She-wolf was made in 12th, but the mythical twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus was added on in 15th, to make the whole statue conform to the story.
The museum is truly well-curated, every room will have some masterpiece ready to surprise you.
Other highlights include Bernini’s Medusa, Cupid and Psyche (2nd century AD), Galata Morente (The Dying Gladiator or The Dying Gaul) from 3rd BC, the Spinario, a delicate 1st-century-BC bronze of a boy removing a thorn from his foot. Also has gallery with masterpieces by Rubens and Caravaggio.
I absolutely love the museum, and the afternoon light making even more magical… we also went to the top terrace where you can see the city, since Capitoline Museums is on one of the seven hill – Capitoline hill, you can actually see the old buildings of Rome from here, and have s break with coffee and cake.
I thought Capitoline Museums may have been given us enough treasure already, but little did I know there is another surprise waiting for us- Marforio at Palazzo Nuovo.
This view is and will be probably the most impressing image I had from Italian film – La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty 2013) by Paolo Sorrentino. The main character sitting in front of the statue in the end, I was in love, and we even bought the poster which is hanging in our place. So happy to see the statue in real life! Marforio was a statue placed in the forum of Mars, which is in the area between Roman forum and Imperial forum. then been moved to Palazzo Nuovo in the end, to give a new function as part of fountain. Although the identity of the statue is various as Jupiter, Neptune, or the Tiber. An Italian Renaissance humanist Andrea Fulvio who first identified it as a river god Oceanus.
The exit at Palazzo Nuovo connect to Piazza del Campidoglio (Campidoglio)- a hilltop square designed by Michelangelo in 16th century. it is a beautiful space, but at that time (museum closing time) we were there is already full of tourists, therefore we had not stay too long. But overall, I really really love Capitoline Museums, and highly recommend it to anyone who is going to visiting Rome. It will treat you nicely!
Tips for visiting Capitoline museums:
- Bring your camera! you will have so many good shots here.
- The audio guide is nice but bulky and it will cost 7 euro. The written introduction of artworks is pretty nice already and you probably will want a book afterwards, so you can consider skipping this.
- The afternoon light in museum is beautiful, I suggest visit after lunch time, and at least spend 3 hours here.
This post is one of the attractions from our Ultimate Rome 6 day trip itinerary Day 1, you can click each of the names to see the full post.
Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)→ Pantheon & Fontana del Pantheon→ Obelisco Della Minerva (Elephant and Obelisk)→ Church of St. Louis of the French (San Luigi dei Francesi) → Largo di Torre Argentina→ Capitoline Museums