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Piazza del Campidoglio

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The Piazza del Campidoglio is situated betwen the two summits of the Campidoglio hill in Rome.

It was designed by Michelangelo in 1546 and its inauguration came about in September 1887. It is said that the realisation of the square was commissioned by Pope Paul III for the occasion of the triumphal pathway which was to be walked in honour of Carlo V in 1536.

The stairway which gives access to the square was realised by Giacomo Della Porta. The so-called Cordonata presents a couple of black granite Egyptian lions at its base. In the garden which runs along the side of the square there is a small bronze monument dedicated to Cola di Rienzo which was realised by Gaetano Masini.

At the end of the Cordonata there are the colossal statues of Dioscuri, Castore, and Polluce.

In the square there is Palazzo Senatorio, on the left hand side one finds Palazzo Nuovo, and on the right the Palazzo Conservatori. In the centre there is a stupendous example of Imperial sculpture: the statue of Marco Aurelio.

The statue was completely plaqued in gold and has a prophecy tied to it: when all the gold reappears an owl, which is represented by the tuft of mane that the horse has between its ears, will sing and Judgement Day will begin.

The original is nowadays conserved in the Musei Capitolini, whilst the statue in the square is a copy.

The old belfry, called Patarina by the people of Rome, dominates the square. It was used to announce historical or important events like the election of a Pope, his official installation, or his death.

The present belfry is the second heir to the historical Patarina.

The geometrical flooring of the square and the stature of Marco Aurelio are inscribed on the back of the 50 cent Euro coin in Italy.

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