What You Need To Know About The Palatine Hill

The Significance of The Palatine Hill

Of Rome’s seven hills, the most famous, and central is Palatine Hill. Home to the oldest part of the city of Rome, this historic gem provides not only a fascinating look into Rome’s past, but also a mesmerizing view of the Rome of today. Overlooking the Roman Forum, and the Circus Maximus as well as providing a panoramic view of Rome, it’s no wonder this is one of the very best destinations in the city.

While most people focus on the nearby Colosseum, few remember to pay a visit to this sensational archaeological site. Numerous ruins can be found on Palatine Hill, including the Flavian Palace, and the Stadium of Domitian. Though this may be outside of the Vatican city, you can also find some remarkable frescoes here in the houses of Augustus and Livia. The house of August’s construction actually brought about the creation of the Temple of Apollo Palatinus as well. During construction, the House of August’s interior was struck by a bolt of lightning, which Augustus saw to be an omen. This prompted the emperor to order the Temple of Apollo Palatinus to be built in the hope that it would appease the Gods.

The History

Palatine has a rich mythological history, telling the story of Romulus and Remus. These two are said to have lived on this hill, and the Hut of Romulus can still be seen here today, having belonged to the founder of rome. While the story behind the Hut of Romulus may be mythological, the one-room building has been dated back to as early as the 8th Century. Legend also speaks of Cacus, the fire breathing giant who lived in a cave on Palatine. Though the story goes that the hero Hercules defeated him, his name was given to the steps of Cacus, very near to the Hut of Romulus.

Since Palatine Hill was widely considered to have been the very first place that people lived in rome, it makes sense that it would then develop ahead of other areas to become the most prestigious neighborhood. In fact, not only was Palatine home to the supposed founder of rome, but also Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. Tiberius and Domitian followed Augustus and the three emperors left behind the majority of the ruins that we can now explore on Palatine Hill. This area was so significant to leaders and royalty that it actually is the origin of the word “palace”.

Palatine Hill is yet another highlight of Rome, and to explore the ruins and learn of the history, both mythological and factual, is an experience like no other.

Visit the Palatine Hill on our Rome and Colosseum Tour.

Language »