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Visit Capitoline Museums, Rome

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The Capitoline Museums are considered the world’s first public museum. Housed in two buildings but considered a singular museum, they contain an incredible collection of ancient Roman bronze and marble statues, medieval and Renaissance art, and elaborate frescoes – not to mention one of the best views of the Roman Forum.

A Brief History

The Capitoline Museums are located in two buildings in Michelangelo’s stunning trapezoidal Piazza del Campidoglio – Rome’s Capitol and the seat of its government. The collection began in 1471 when Pope Sixtus IV donated a collection of important bronze statues to the people of Rome; it was this same Pope who sponsored the building of the Sistine Chapel. The Capitoline Museums slowly grew to accommodate countless works of art and in 1734 Pope Clement XII declared that the museums be open to the public. This was the first time art began to be accessible and enjoyed by all people and had important repercussions over the following decades.