Campidoglio Square and the Perspective

The PERSPECTIVE of Capitoline Hill (Il Campidoglio), Rome.

When we find ourselves in front of a building or architecture it is difficult to understand the rules of construction unless it is studied previously. Today we look at the structure of Capitoline Hill, and we talk about the Anti-perspective.

Campidoglio
Campidoglio Sqare – Map view

The Capitoline Hill, between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. The name capitol seems to have meant “dominant height”. The Capitoline contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are almost entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palaces (now housing the Capitoline Museums) that surround a piazza, a significant urban plan designed by Michelangelo.

The existing design of the Piazza del Campidoglio and the surrounding buildings was created by Renaissance artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536–1546.

Campidoglio Hill
Capitoline Hill – original structure

Michelangelo’s solution to the problems of the space in the Piazza del Campidoglio:

Even with their new facades centering them on the new palazzo at the rear, the space was a trapezoid, and the facades did not face each other squarely. Worse still, the whole site sloped. Michelangelo’s solution was radical. The three remodelled buildings enclose a harmonious trapezoidal space, approached by the ramped staircase called the “Cordonata“. The stepped ramp of the cordonata was intended, like a slow-moving escalator, to lift its visitors toward the sky and deposit them on the threshold of municipal authority.

He also used the

Slow-Perspective Rule

As Emanuela Pulvirenti as well explains in her blog  www.didatticarte.it, Michelangelo kept the oblique orientation of pre-existing buildings, getting an open -plan slightly trapezoidal ( the Senators Palace and that of the Conservatives form an angle of 80 ° ) , on which lined the new facades , in order to expand the perspective to the visual focus consisting of the Senatorial Palace.

Simple slow-perspective scheme:antiprospettivaThe slow perspective (or antiperspective), provides the sides of a place is divergent to compensate the convergence of the prospective flights. The end is the effect of an atmosphere less deep than it is really.

mappa 2 campidoglio

The antiprospettiva makes the square appear wider and shorter when viewed from the side porch and the Church most majestic and looming .

campidoglio view
Campidoglio front view