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 Eagles
The fine wooden ceiling features painted landscapes alternating with carved gilded rosettes.
The frieze below, of the same period as that in the Hall of the Geese, features a series of panels portraying views of Rome, and oval medallions showing minor episodes from the history of Republican Rome.
A small bronze and marble statue is a small-scale replica of the Hellenistic statue from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus embellished with symbols of fertility and heads of animals.
Two marble eagles give the room its name.
The name of the room comes from the sculptures of the two Roman eagles placed on two cipolin columns.
The decoration of this small and sophisticated room dates back to the pontificate of Pope Paul III Farnese (1534-1549).
In the painted frieze on the walls, precious grotesques frame a view of Rome with ancient monuments. The fresco is close, for stylistic and iconographic reasons, to those painted in the same period for the pope in Castel Sant'Angelo and attributed to Cristofano Gherardi (1508-1556). One of the panels depicts a view from the Capitoline Square, showing the image of the Capitol in the mid-sixteenth century. The statue of Marcus Aurelius is placed in the centre of the square: it was transferred from the Lateran to the Capitol in 1538 at the behest of the same Paul III. One can distinguish the Senatorio and Palazzo dei Conservatori in their fifteenth century look, not yet renewed by the subsequent Michelangelo’s work.
The central panel of beautiful wooden ceiling, carved in the same years of the frescoes (1540-1550), bears the inscription S.P.Q.R. (Senatus Senatus Popolusque Romanus), a formula referring to the authority of the Senate and the People of Rome and since the Middle Ages part of the coat of arms of the City of Rome. In the other panels, there are small landscapes framed by gilded carvings of great value.
Leaning against a wall, on an ancient base, there is the Diana of Ephesus, a copy of the cult statue of the shrine of Artemis at Ephesus, a marble sculpture with bronze inlays, enriched by the presence of flowers, bees and fertility symbols.