The Palatine Hill is the hill that overlooks the Roman Forum; it was once the home of emperors and is a pleasant stroll through a much greener area than the Forum. Of course, it is in ruins, but you can get an idea of how large the residence was. Additionally, it was on this hill that the legend of Rome’s beginnings, of Romulus and his brother Remus, are believed to originated.
The Palatine is part of your combo-ticket to the Forum and the Colosseum. It is an easy climb from the Arch of Titus, on the Colosseum end of the Forum. As you make the climb, be sure to get a good view of the Forum from the hill – it puts it all in perspective from this vantage point.
Like most of the Forum, there is very little signage to tell you what you are looking at. You should have a good guide book and map to help you understand what you are looking at. As mentioned in my other tips, I highly recommend The Blue Guide – Rome, which has detailed maps and descriptions of all the areas of ancient Rome, as well as the Vatican and the many churches and cultural sights of the city.
We didn’t spend as much time in the Palatine as we probably should’ve, but we had stayed in the Forum for quite awhile and still had the Colosseum to go to, so we rushed a bit in the Palatine. However, it was a beautiful site to walk through. There were excavations still going on (these places are off-limits to the public), but the rest seemed very well maintained – not the piles of rocks impressions that I got from the Forum area.
There is one area that looked like a stadium, but it is actually thought to be a private garden. You look down upon this area from the private home of the emperors (so guess who’s garden it was?).
As we looked around the Palatine, we came to a wonderful spot on the northeastern corner of the Palatine that gave a great view and photo opportunity as we looked down on the Colosseum. If you are looking for that place to take group photos with the Colosseum in the background, this is a great spot.
I would like to return to the Palatine again, but next time I need to do more research on what I am looking at. I had read up on most of the other sites, but neglected to do as much for the Palatine. Next time…
Palatine Hill is another of Rome's fabled seven, the mythological site of Lupercal Cave - where Romulus and Remus were said to have been raised by a she-wolf - and where some emperors and very wealthy citizens built massive palaces and splendid homes. Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Cicero and Marc Anthony all resided here at one time. Long after the fall of Rome, churches, convents and Cardinal Farnese's gardens were built on top of the remains of the previous structures.
Some of the ruins to see here are the palaces of Domitian, Caligula (Tiberius), Septimius Severus, and Augustus and his wife, Livia. There are also the remains of a stadium (photo 4) and the excavation of some Iron Age dwellings known as The Huts of Romulus and Remus. One of the best reasons to come is the view overlooking the forum from a terrace at Farnese gardens (photos 2). You can get an entirely different - and free - perspective by wandering over to what's left of the Circus Maximus for an eyeful of the massive pile from behind (main photo.)
Tickets can be purchased at the entrance near the Arch of Constantine on via di San Gregorio, are good for two days, and cover entrance to the Colosseum and Forum as well. To avoid long lines at the Colosseum, buy your combo ticket here, and plan to be at the gate early. Audio guides as well as guided tours are also available: ask at the entrance.
A note of caution? If not booking a tour or audioguide, bring along a guidebook that will walk you through the high points. You don't receive any information with your ticket, and there isn't much for signage. Use the website below as a good starting point.
If you imagine the seven hills of ancient Rome as a wheel (albeit a rather squashed one), the Palatine Hill is the hub, the central hill. Right from the earliest days of the Republic, it was the most desirable part of the city in which to live, both for its wonderful views and because it was here that legend says the she-wolf who suckled the twins, Romulus and Remus, had her den and Romulus decided to build his city. Throughout the years of the Republic , this hill was the preserve of the the richest and most influential citizens and as Empire followed Republic, it was where the emperors and their families built their palaces.
The views are still beautiful and, after the crowds around the Forum and the Colosseum, it offers plenty of welcome quiet and shady paths as well as the archaeological treasures of the newly retored and now open House of Augustus and the exquisite House of Livia (closed the day we were there but once seen, never forgotten, and I was lucky enough to see it the first time I was in Rome).
What we were lucky enough to find open this time was the Capanne Romulee - the remains of Iron Age huts dating back to the 9th century BC - the earliest dwellings on the hill. We also had the good luck to arrive there just as a study group of young history students were having the site explained to them by their lecturer. Of course we listened in.
There are ruins all over the hill, most of which are active archaeological sites and often out of bounds to tourists. There are few signs and if you want to gain an indepth appreciation of the area, you're probably best to take a tour but there's plenty to enjoy here by just making your own way around.
Don't miss the lovely Farnese Gardens at the top of the hill.
One of Rome's seven hills, the Palatine Hill was ancient Rome's residential area for the most important. Today, it is a large archeological park planted with Pine trees around half excavated Roman ruins. The Palatine Hill is located between the Circo Massimo and the Roman Forum. It can be entered (for a fee) from the Roman Forum. The Park is a most relaxing place and one could visit, not only to see the ruins, but also to spend a quiet afternoon. Some of the ruins include the Domus Flavia, Domus Augustana and the Palace of Septimius Severus.
If you visit the Colosseum, your ticket will also let you visit the Palatine (entrance in the Forum area). The site of the original 'Rome', prehistoric remains have been excavated as well as the huge Roman palaces up here (although some may be closed for restoration) . The museum shows both roman and pre -Roman artefacts, which helps to put the whole city into some sort of archaeological perspective.
Buy some lunch and take it up the hill. Explore the palaces, gaze over Rome spread out at your feet (fantastic views) and take a rest in the shady formal gardens. Enjoy!
From the Arch of Titus, the road leads up to the Palatine Hill, where the imperial rulers of Rome lived in luxury. Follow the paths and steps up to the Farnese Gardens, which were pleasure gardens laid out in the 16th century for Cardinal Farnese over the ruins of the Palace of Tiberius.
From what I have read, scholars aren't certain what the name of the hill means - it may derive from 'palus' (marsh or swamp, apparently quite descriptive of the area of the Forum Romanum before it was drained), or it may stem from 'pales', an old pastoral deity. Later, the word 'palatium' was associated as much with the imperial palaces as with the hill, and this eventually became the word 'palace'.
One of the lovely things about the Palatine is that it is a park where you can wander in any direction you please. On the other hand, it is a large park without signposts, and very few labels, so it could be very confusing for the first-time visitor to know exactly what they are looking at. I advise you to have a map handy!
The views from the Palatine Hill are stunning, and the Farnese gardens are lovely. The palaces of Roman emperors stretch before you, including the House of Livia with its wall-paintings and mosaics. Many people do not realise that the hill really is the oldest part of Rome.........an Iron Age settlement which dates from 800 BCE has been excavated. The Palatine museum has interesting displays about this very early settlement, as well as many artefacts discovered on the site.
The Palatine is where the nucleus of the ancient Roma was located (the "square Rome"). As the legend says, it was founded by Romulus by 753 AC.
In its origins, it was composed by 2 hills: the Palatium and the Germalus, both of them united later by the Domiciano. The Palatine has the best ruins and the richest historical background. In the hill you can find Ciceron's house and many emperor's palaces, as well as the Casa di Livia -the house of Augustus- with a very good collection of roman artifacts.
On the hill you can also find the Palatinian Stadium (built by Domiciano), the Domus Severiana and the Paedagogium, the school for imperial slaves.
One tip: the entrance ticket to the Palatine serves also for the Coliseum. It's better to buy the ticket here, even if you're not going to visit it, as the queues in the Coliseum can be very long. This way, you just pass by and show your ticket.
Palatine Hill was the rich neighborhood of Rome. In fact the word "palace" derives from this hill. The largest complex on the hill is the palace of the emporer Domitian. The area is accessed from Via San Gregorio and requires an admission ticket.
With the entrance ticket to the Coloseum you can also visit the Palentine.
The palentine is at an hill at one of the best locations in Rome. The old emperors knew that and built their palaces there. It is said that it also is the place were the she-wolve nursed Romulus and Remus.
Today you can discover the remains of the once elegant palaces of the emperors.
Underneath the gardens is a long tunnel which may have been a secret route to other parts of the palatine. It is often attributed to Nero, but part may be earlier, part of the Domus Tiberiana, as it is thought that this was the site of the murder of Emperor Caligula in AD41.
It's a lovely cool spot, it would be nice to linger there on a hot day.
The largest standing ruin is labelled as being the House of Augustus (Domus Augustana), although I'm sure my Oxford Archaeological Guide says it's Domitian's Palace. It seems possible that the House of Augustus and the House of Livia were both incorporated into the Flavian emperor's residence.
The best preserved remains are in the lower stories - closed to the public of course - but an impressive amount can be seen from the top. My photos show one of the inner courtyards, and the stadium - originally a great sunken garden, which contains a later elliptical structure which is apparently the arena of a private amphitheatre.
Beyond the gardens, in the south-west corner of the hill, excavations have revealed the oldest traces of a settlement in the city (8th century BC). The floors and post-holes of iron age huts are cut into the bedrock - the largest hut plan measures 5 by 3.5m, a slightly oval rectangle.
These mid-16th century gardens by Alessandro Farnese is considered one of Europe's earliest botanical gardens. Studded with cone-shaped pines and dotted with roses, this is a pleasant area to relax after some serious sightseeing at the Palatine Hill - or in my case, seek shelter during a rainy day. The twin pavilions at the northern end overlook the Forum - a prime spot for photographing the Forum.
When you visit the the Roman ruins make sure that you go up Palatine Hill. This place was dominated by the massive palace complex of the Roman emperors. If Augustus had intially lived in a relatively modest house on the hill, then his successors showed no such restraint. The palace was placed so as to look down upon the Circus Maximus.
The most impressive ruins remaining today are those of the Domus Flavia and the Domus Augustana, both built by emperor Domitian. The Domus Flavia was the official part of the palace in which emissaries might be received or state banquets might be held. The Domus Augustana meanwhile was the emperor's luxurious private residence.
Part of Domitian's palace was this open area known as the Stadium. Opinions are divided on if this was a stadium for exercising horses or merely a large garden. The oval enclosure at one end of it is an addition made by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric in the 6th century.