We began exploring the Capitol region around 6:00 pm on the evening we arrived in Rome. In June the sun sets in Rome at 8:45 PM and we needed all of that remaining daylight to cover the expansive grounds of the Capitol region.
The Capitol was the center of the Roman world. You can enter from the north alongside the Forum or to the west via The Cordonata, a spectacular stairway that was designed by Michelangelo. Looking down to the east you will see views of the Forum and the Colosseum; to the south you will see the Palatine and the Teatro di Marcello. On the North side of the Capitol you will pass by Piazza Venezia and the recently restored Victor Emmanuel Monument.
The highlight for us was the Piazza del Campidoglio which was designed by Michelangelo for Pope Pius V in 1566. The intricate detail on the marble paving that was used in the Palazzo is best seen early in the morning or at dusk when the crowds are not present. The Piazza is flanked by the Palazzo Nuovo and the Capitoline Museums. Most of the restoration work is nearing completion at the Capitol making it very easy to appreciate how it was the centerpiece of Roman life.
After a day of travel and an evening of exploring we ventured down one of the many alleys off of via Cavour to have dinner at one of the restaurants that was recommended by the Nicolas Inn. We weren't disappointed as the food was superb and the atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for as we were the only tourists in the place!