The rooms making up the apartment on the first floor of the Palazzo, were used by the Conservators, or magistrates, for activities connected to their office; they therefore form a single entity, both as regards their function and their ornamental features. The rooms were also used for Public and Private Council meetings.
The rich decoration of these reception rooms (frescoes, stuccoes, carved ceilings and doors, tapestries) has as its main theme the history of Ancient Rome, from its foundation to the Republican Age.
The earliest cycle of frescoes goes back to the beginning of the XVI century.
The main floor of the Palace houses the Ceremonial Rooms of the Conservators, also known as the Apartment.
They are the oldest part of the Palace: some rooms preserve parts of the series of frescoes painted at the beginning of the XVI century, whereas the decorations of the other rooms were renewed after Michelangelo’s renovation.
The whole decoration of the Apartment, though it was painted separately and subsequently, present a uniform appearance dedicated to the extolling and memory of the virtues and value of the Ancients.
Some ancient bronze sculptures were also installed in these rooms: they were presented by Pope Sixtus IV to the Roman people due to their symbolic value, in memory of the greatness of Rome which the papal government intended to renew.
The donation of the Sistine bronzes is considered to be the foundation of Capitoline Museums, since then several works of art, sculpture and paintings of value, were collected in the Capitol.
Hall of the She-wolf
Conservators' Apartment - Hall of the She-wolf
Ever since the middle of the 16th century, when it was an open three-arched loggia, this room has contained the bronze Capitoline She-wolf, which has become the symbol of Rome.
Embedded in the walls are fragments of Consular and Triumphal Fasti, lists of magistrates and triumphal victors from the time of the republic to the Augustan Age discovered in the Roman Forum and part of an arch dedicated to Augustus.
The pictorial wall decoration, dating back to the first decade of the XVI century and traditionally attributed to Jacopo Ripanda, is rather fragmentary and difficult to decipher.
The Capitoline Wolf is placed at the centre of the room. The dating of the work - traditionally dated to the first half of the V century BC, with many comparisons to Greek and Italic figurative production - was called into question by the results of Carbon 14 analysis performed on organic materials resulting from the casting process, which would bring the date to medieval times.
The statue, donated to the Romans in 1471, became the symbol of Rome when, transferred to the Capitol, the twins Romulus and Remus (the legendary founders of the city) were added to the ancient bronze. Since then the work is stored in this building and from the Sixteenth century, according to witnesses at the time, was placed in this room, formerly an open space to the outside with three arches. The lodge was decorated between 1508 and 1513 with a series of frescoes attributed to Jacopo Ripanda. The subsequent inclusion of two large memorial stones caused the loss of much of the decoration, which is now preserved in an extremely fragmented state.
In 1586, on the back wall of the hall, a marble structure was put together from the elegant classical architecture of the Consular and Triumphal Fasti, a historical document of significant value, which lists on marble tablets the names of magistrates and triumphal victors from the time of the republic to the Augustan Age. These tablets were found in the Roman Forum in the Sixteenth century and were originally intended for a triumphal arch erected in honour of Emperor Augustus in 19 BC.
The floor mosaic is invaluable: an ancient artefact found in 1893 and then reassembled in this space for its extraordinary symbolic value.