Palatine (6)

Monte Palatino (Palatine Hill) is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, situated behind the Velabro and the Roman Forum, and is one of the oldest areas in the city.

The Palatine is today a grand open-air museum and you will find its entrance next to the Arch of Titus in the Forum.

The legend tells that Rome has its origins in the Palatine. According to Roman mythology it was the place where Romulus and Remus were found after having been raised by a she-wolf. It seems that the shepherd who found them decided to bring them up with his wife in a nearby place. Thus when Romulus, now an adult, decided to found a new city, he chose this spot for it.

With time, the area became a residential area for the upper class, and here lived people as important as Cicero or the orator Hortensius. The emperor Augustus was also born and lived on this hill, and did so in modest conditions, despite his rank of emperor. Two of his buildings are the best-preserved on the Palatine: the House of Augustus and the House of Livia, reserved for his wife. However, the two residences are currently closed to the public.

In later times it was other Roman emperors who chose to build their residences here, although they did not follow the models of Augustus, since their buildings stand out for their luxury and opulence. In fact, the word “palace” comes precisely from this period. Some of the great emperors who built on the Palatine were Tiberius, Caligula, Nero and Domitian. 

In fact, the most extensive ruins that you will find on the hill are those of the Domus Augustana and the Domus Flavia, both part of the immense palace of Domitian. You can also visit here Domitian’s stadium, where it is believed the races were held, and the small Antiquarium del Palatino, an exhibition space showing the archaeological discoveries of the area.  

In more modern times, the hill was the property of the Farnese family, to whom we owe the Orti Farnesiani, a 16th-century garden full of rare botanical species, and with views over the Forum that are well worth taking in. 

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