Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Santa Maria en Aracoeli & the Piazza del Campodoglio

We tried approaching the Roman forum via the stairs (and there are a lot of them...) to Santa Maria en Aracoeli (which means “altar in the sky”), but there’s no getting there from here. Here, however, is where Augustus supposedly had a premonition of the coming of Mary and Christ standing on an altar in the sky. Sited on the remains of the Temple of Juno Moneta on the Capitoline Hill, it does give you a wonderful view of the Roman forum, and is well worth a visit, although I’m afraid my photos don’t really do it justice.

We tried approaching the forum via the Piazza del Campodoglio (Capitoline Hill Square) just below Santa Maria, but no go from there, either. The religious and political center of ancient Rome, it remains the site of Rome’s city government. In the 1530s, the pope set Michaelangelo to tarting up the square, which he did a lovely job of, siting an ancient equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in the center and giving the three surrounding buildings a nice Renaissance polish.

 Here are Castor and Pollux flanking the entrance from the steps:

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