italy 2: top attractions of roman, renaissance, baroque, modern rome

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Eternal Rome, with its ancient Roman monuments (© Lozzi Roma)

Roman Rome

Though most of the buildings in Michelangelo’s piazza on Campidoglio [Capitoline hill] date from the Renaissance, the hill was once the epicentre of the Roman Empire, the place where the city’s first and holiest temples stood, including its most sacred, the Tempio di Giove [Temple of Jupiter]. By the Middle Ages, the Campidoglio had fallen into ruin. In 1547, Pope Paul III (1468-1549) decided to restore its grandeur for the triumphal entry into the city of Charles V (1500-1558), the Holy Roman Emperor. He called upon Michelangelo to create the Cordonata [the monumental staircase ramp], the edifices and facades on the three sides of the Campidoglio, the slightly convex pavement and its decoration, and the pedestal for the bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, the only surviving example of the many bronze equestrian statues which once adorned Rome. As Michelangelo’s pre-eminent urban set piece, the piazza and its buildings sums up all the majesty of High Renaissance Rome. In spite of changing events and historic conditions, it has remained at the very centre of Roman life. Today, it is the headquarters of the mayor and municipality of modern Rome. Continue reading