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Capitol (Piazza del Campidoglio)

The Capitol, citadel of ancient Rome, is a must for every visitor. A broad flight of steps (the Cordonata) leads up to Michelangelo's spectacular Piazza del Campidoglio. This is flanked by the Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori, housing the Capitoline Museum with their fine collections of sculptures and paintings.

The Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, the southern summit of the Capitoline hill, was the centre of the Roman world. Reached by a zig zag path up from the Forum, the temple was the scene of all the most sacred religious and political ceremonies.

The hill and its temple came to symbolize Rome's authority as caput mundi, head of the world, and the concept of a "Capital" city is derived from the Capitol. Throughout the city's history, the Capitol (Campidoglio), has remained the seat of municipal government. Today's city council, the Comune di Roma, meets in the Renaissance splendour of Palazzo Senatorio.

The Capitol also serves as Rome's Registry Office. Rome's position as a modern Capital is forcefully expressed in the enormous Victor Emmanuel Monument (Il Vittoriano), which unfortunately blots out the view of the Capitol from Piazza Venezia.