In 1537, Pope Paul III Farnese decided that the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius would be moved from its original site in front of the Lateran Basilica to the main square on the Capitoline Hill. Michelangelo was given the task of designing a new pedestal for the famous statue. Shortly afterwards he was commissioned with remodelling the square so as to make a dignified site for the monument and the centre of civic Rome. One of the most beautiful Roman squares, Piazza del Campidoglio can still be admired today. Michelangelo drew a symmetrical ground plan of the square with the Palazzo Senatorio at its head and a majestic staircase leading up to it, flanked by new palaces (now the Capitoline Museums), identical in shape: the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo. A wide staircase led down to the city beyond the balustrade. However, only a part of the project was completed during the artist’s life. The print by the German engraver Mathäus Merian dates from a period when the Palazzo Nuovo (left) had not yet been built; the palace was finished in 1663.