The Palazzo dei Conservatori (“Palace of the Conservators”) was built in the Middle Ages for the local magistrate on top of a sixth-century BC temple dedicated to Jupiter “Maximus Capitolinus”.
It is one of the Capitoline Museums or “Musei Capitolini”
Michelangelo’s renovation of it incorporated the first use of a giant order that spanned two storeys, here with a range of Corinthian pilasters and subsidiary Ionic columns flanking the ground-floor loggia openings and the second-floor windows. . The portico contains entablatures and a flat, coffer-like ceiling. The entablatures rest on columns set at the front of each bay, while matching half-columns stand against the back wall. Each pilaster forms a compound unit with the pier and column on either side of it. Colossal pilasters set on large bases join the portico and the upper story. All of the windows are capped with segmental pediments.
The palazzo’s facade was updated by Michelangelo in the 1530s and again later numerous times. In Rome the portico of the Palazzo dei Conservatori sheltered offices of various guilds. Here disputes arising in the transaction of business were adjudicated, unless they were of sufficient importance to go before a communal tribunal, such as that of the conservatori. It was a natural place for such activity. Until the 1470s the main market of the city was held on and around the campidoglio, while cattle continued to be taxed and sold in the ancient forum located just to the south.
John Evelyn mentions thexxxx
“At the foot of the steps toward the left hand is that Colonna Miliaria, with the globe of brass on it, mentioned to have been formerly set in Campo Vaccino. On the same hand, is the palace of the Signiori Conservatori, or three Consuls, now the civil governors of the city, containing the fraternities, or halls and guilds (as we call them), of sundry companies, and other offices of state. Under the portico within, are the statues of Augustus Caesar, a Bacchus, and the so renowned Colonna Rostrata of Duillius, with the excellent bassi-relievi.”