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One of the structures that comprises the Campidoglio, this Palazzo served as the seat of the Roman magistrate responsible for administrating the city, or as the Pope liked to call them, his "party-planning committee". By the end of the 15th century, they had very little actual power, the Pope ran the city from the Vatican.
In the mid-16th century, Michelangelo got his talented little hands on the building, re-designing the facade and adding gigantic Corinthian pilaster strips on high pedestals to make it a little less ostentatious. I'm not certain he succeeded.