(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)
Piazza Campidoglio, Rome
Michelangelo designed an architectural space to frame the bronze equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius which was transferred from the papal palace at St John Lateran to the centre of the Capitoline Hill. The statue stood at the centre of the complex on a slightly mounded pavement. A long ramp led from the medieval city below to the top of the hill, directly on axis with the Marcus Aurelius and the centre portal of the Palazzo Senatorio (Senators' Palace), approached by a long double-ramped staircase. The niche at the centre of the staircase was intended to house a large statue of Jupiter.
The Palazzo Senatorio was built during the 13th and 14th century. It stands atop the Tabularium that had once housed the archives of ancient Rome. Its double ramp of stairs were designed by Michelangelo. The bell tower was designed by Martino Longhi the Elder and built between 1578 and 1582. Its current façade was designed by Giacomo della Porta and Girolamo Rainaldi.