Palatine Hill

Rome, Italy

The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here and hence it became the etymological origin of the word palace and its cognates in other languages (Italian palazzo, French palais, German Palast).

According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave, known as the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf Lupa that kept them alive. Another legend occuring on the Palatine is Hercules' defeat of Cacus after the monster had stolen some cattle. Hercules struck Cacus with his characteristic club so hard that it formed a cleft on the southeast corner of the hill, where later a staircase bearing the name of Cacus was constructed.

Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Excavations show that people have lived in the area since the 10th century BC. The Palatine Hill was also the site of the ancient festival of the Lupercalia. Many affluent Romans of the Republican period (c.509 BC-44 BC) had their residences there.

From the start of the Empire (27 BC) Augustus built his palace there and the hill gradually became the exclusive domain of emperors; the ruins of the palaces of at least Augustus (27 BC-14 AD), Tiberius (14-37 AD) and Domitian (81-96 AD) can still be seen. Augustus also built a temple to Apollo here. The great fire of 64 AD destroyed Nero's palace, but he replaced it by 69 AD with the even larger Domus Aurea over which was built Domitian's Palace


The Palatine Hill is an archaeological site open to the public. The Palace of Domitian which dominates the site and looks out over the Circus Maximus was rebuilt largely during the reign of Domitian over earlier buildings of Nero.

The House of 'Livia', the wife of Augustus, is conventially attributed to her based only on the generic name on a clay pipe and circumstantial factors such as proximity to the House of Augustus. The building is located near the Temple of Magna Mater at the western end of the hill, on a lower terrace from the temple. It is notable for its beautiful frescoes.

The House of Tiberius is located next to the Temple of Cybele, on the platform built by Nero and in the current Farnese Gardens.

There are also remains of other temples and palaces on the Palatine Hill.



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Founded: 10th century BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lifang Tan (10 months ago)
View is breathtaking, you can take a 1-2 hours to stroll through the ancient ruins. It's recommended to go with a tour as it can be quite difficult to understand the history/ stories behind the ruins without a guide.
Theo Vlassis (12 months ago)
Palatine Hill is a truly remarkable destination for anyone interested in history and archaeology. As one of the seven hills of Rome, it has played a significant role in the city's development over the centuries. From the top of the hill, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The ruins of the imperial palace and other ancient structures are also incredibly impressive and provide a fascinating glimpse into Rome's past. As an outdoor attraction, Palatine Hill is perfect for anyone looking to get some exercise and fresh air while learning about history. The terrain can be uneven in places, so comfortable footwear is recommended. Overall, I highly recommend a visit to Palatine Hill for anyone visiting Rome. It's a beautiful and historically significant site that offers an unforgettable experience.
Orestis - (12 months ago)
The view from the hill is wonderful. From there you can see the entire archaeological site of the Roman Forum. It's worth going up to get an idea of the city and where everything is.
Sai Kumar (13 months ago)
Time required - 45 minutes Guide - Recommended How to plan : Visit the Colosseum and walk to the Palatine hill which has the best views of Rome and multiple other places of significance What to do next : Visit the Roman Forum and exit for lunch Important : Carry water and light snacks
Marcus Hurley (13 months ago)
We visited the site on a weekend in February and the area was reasonably quiet with just a small queue. One thing that soon became apparent was that a map would be useful! It is obviously a huge area but it isn't a set route that you just shuffle along with everyone else, there are plenty of junctions and side routes to take. We were there just over three hours and I'm not sure if we saw everything or even the highlights. There are lots of information boards around which help explain the various ruins. I wish we'd gone into the museum itself but we weren't aware just how long it would take so we skipped it. At one of the entrances/exits we did find a small cafe just inside the site so it was nice to sit and have a coffee. If there had been one by the rose garden that would have been a lovely spot to take a break from sightseeing. There are obviously lots of buildings inside the site, in various states of ruin. The potential magnificence can be imagined but what is left is no longer marble but mostly brick - we saw no frescoes or mosaics or carvings so it really could have been a building site almost, it's just the imagination that keeps it as something amazing.
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