Campitelli is the 10th rione of Rome and can be qualified as one gigantic open-air museum, since it mostly consists of the center of Ancient Rome. The central point of the district is the Piazza del Campidoglio. Of all the rioni of the city, it is the one with the smallest number of inhabitants.
Campitelli District Rome (Rione X)
History and description
The name derives from the Capitolium, the spot where the most important temple of Rome, dedicated to Jove, Juno and Minerva used to be.
The dragon in Campitelli‘s coat of arms refers to a monster which was expelled from the Forum by Pope Silvester I.
Tourist attractions Campitelli district
The Campitelli district is among the most crowded rioni of the city in terms of tourist attractions. The central point of the district is the Piazza del Campidoglio, around which some of Rome’s most beautiful and famous attractions are located. Three sides of this square are taken up by the Palazzo Senatorio, the Palazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo dei Conservatori. The three buildings together form the seat of the Capitoline Museums. The square itself was designed by Michelangelo. The wide staircase leading to it is called Cordonata.
The most important temple of Rome’s ancient history had been built on top of the the Capitol Hill. The temple was dedicated to Zeus, Juno and Minerva. Unfortunately, very little of it remains.
The Roman Forum is where public life took place during the heyday of the Roman Empire. These vast excavations are full of ruins of magnificent temples and basilicas and one can easily spend almost an entire day there.
The Carcere Mamertino is said to be where Saints Peter and Paul were imprisoned before they managed to convert their guards and escape. It consists of two sections, called Carcer and Tullianum, separated from each other by a hole in the floor.
The Basilica of San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio is incorporated into the Palazzo Venezia. It was built by Pope Mark in 336, in honor of Saint Mark the Evangelist, who is said to have stayed at this site during his stay in Rome in the year 26.
In the courtyard of the Palazzo Nuovo stands (or rather, lies) one of Rome’s six talking statues. This Marforio dates back to the 1st century, when it simply represented the God Okeanus and later, after first decorating a number of other fountains, ended up in its current spot.
The Santa Maria in Portico in Campitelli Church is a short walk from the Capitol. Eye-catchers of this church are especially the Rainaldi-designed facade and a miraculous Madonna statue at the main altar.
The name of the magnificent Santa Maria in Aracoeli Church is a corruption of Arx Capitolina, the southern hilltop of the Capitol, on which it is built. Picturesque steps lead from Piazza Venezia to what used to be the side entrance to the church, but don’t forget to check out the beautiful entrance gate at what is now the back.
The Piazza Campitelli Fountain was built in the 16th century. Its construction was paid for by the noble families who had built their palaces on the square itself. The architect was Giacomo della Porta.
The Vittoriano, the most important building from the relatively short time when Italy was a kingdom, is also located in the rione Campitelli.
When the country was ruled by the fascist dictator Mussolini, he had the Via dei Fori Imperiali constructed. This street was to connect the main symbol of the Empire, the Colosseum, with the Vittoriano, the symbol of the Italian royal family.
Unfortunately, during the construction of this street, which was at the time was tellingly called via dell’Impero (“Street of the Empire”), parts of medieval Rome were razed to the ground. Even a small hill (the Veia) had to be destroyed.
The Santi Cosma and Damiano Church is characterized by a beautiful apse mosaic.