Palazzo dei Conservatori - History and Facts | History Hit

Palazzo dei Conservatori

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Palazzo dei Conservatori displays numerous important classical pieces. Part of the Musei Capitolini.

Lucy Davidson

18 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Palazzo dei Conservatori

The Palazzo dei Conservatori is one of the buildings of Rome’s Capitoline Museums, or ‘Musei Capitolini‘. Like its counterpart Palazzo Nuovo, Palazzo dei Conservatori displays classical pieces as well as paintings.

History of Palazzo dei Conservatori

The building of the Palazzo dei Conservatori has an impressive history, having served as Rome’s medieval magistrates court.

Though he is known for his masterpiece sculptures, Michelangelo also contributed a single but influential architectural work. This was his scheme to unify and decorate the Capitoline Hill, a site which has great symbolic value as the centre of Rome.

He was responsible for the general idea of the project and for redesigning the façade, with the redesigns of the Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori being embraced by a colossal Corinthian order with a small Ionic order within. The horizontal rather than arched lintels between the columns are also characteristic of his style.

One of these buildings that he reconfigured is the Palazzo dei Conservatori, a mid-16th century palace which now holds a collection of predominantly Roman but also Greek and Egyptian sculpture.

Remarkably, the existence of the museum can be traced to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated a collection of important ancient bronzes to the people of Rome and located them on the Capitoline Hill.

The Capitoline Museums were opened to the public in 1734 under Clement XII, and are considered to be the first museum in the world, since it was a place that art could be enjoyed by all rather than private owners alone.

Palazzo dei Conservatori today

Today, the Palazzo is a popular tourist attraction as part of Rome’s stunning and historic collection of exhibits and buildings which make up the Capitoline Museums on the Capitoline Hill.

Highlights of Palazzo dei Conservatori include a first century AD bronze sculpture known as the Spinario, which depicts a boy trying to take a thorn out of his foot, and the fifth century BC Capitoline Wolf, which shows the she-wolf from the legend of Romulus and Remus.

Palazzo dei Conservatori also houses an impressive array of paintings by some of the biggest names in the art world, such as Caravaggio and Titian.

Getting to Palazzo dei Conservatori

From the centre of Rome, Palazzo dei Conservatori is reachable in around 10 minutes by car via Via Nazionale. By foot, it is reachable in around 25 minutes by foot by winding through Rome’s stunning centre via the Via Nazionale, Via Cavour, or Via Panisperna roads.

 

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