Capitoline Hill

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Capitoline Hill

Rome - Capitoline Hill - statue
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Capitoline Hill is the most famous of the seven hills of Rome; another name often associated to it is the “Hill of Gods”. Capitoline Hill is composed of two summits separated by a gap. During the Roman Empire, Nero built his arch in the gap between the two summits.

On one of the summits once stood the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the most important temple on the hill. It was not only a place of worship but also the place were Romans used to keep their treasure and precious items. The Temple of Jupiter was destroyed and rebuilt several time until it eventually declined into disuse and ruin during the 5th and 6th centuries. Some say that when Emperor Vespasian rebuilt the Temple of Jupiter, he helped the masons himself. To reach Jupiter’s temple, people had to take the Gemonian Stairs. These stairs were also a place where people were condemned to death sentence and then thrown down the steps toward the Tiber River.

Things to see

On the other summit, where now stands the Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven, there was the Temple of Juno, the protector and special counselor of the state. Romans used to make coins for their currency here; in fact, the practice started in this temple. Another interesting thing about this temple is that according to legend, the Gauls arrived and climbed the Hill to try to steal Roman treasure but Juno’s sacred geese cried out so loudly that the Romans were alerted of the Gauls’ attempt.

Nowadays we can reach the Capitol Square from a huge staircase named Cordonata. On the summit now stands Rome’s City Hall along with the Roman Museum of the Capitoline Hill. The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius is situated in the middle of the Piazza del Campidoglio, where these buildings are situated, and cannot be missed!