Category - Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill was the centre of Rome in two distinct eras: that of the Kings and that of the Emperors. During the Republic, the Patrician families dwelt on the Palatine. Quintus Hortensius, the celebrated orator who emulated Cicero, lived here in a house given him by Augustus. When Augustus became Emperor, he made his imperial residence on the Palatine. Afterwards Tiberius, Caligola, the Flavii and Septimius Severus built palaces here.

The Palatine was the cradle of Rome. Here, according to legend, Romulus traced with a plough the square out-line of the first city; here was the seat of the Kings. Because of this, the hill was chosen as the residence of the Caesars and up to Septimius Severus, no Emperor left it. Only Nero built his Domus Aurea elsewhere but it was never finished nor inhabited by him. The word “Palatino” probably derives from the shepherd god Pales (or Palilia), one of whose followers is supposed to have discovered Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she-wolf. Rome’s official birthday, 21 April, Is still celebrated on the god’s old feast day. From palatino also came the word patazzo (palace), after the large buildings raised on the hill.

Today, this cradle of Rome, through modem excavations, is coming to light again and even its ruins speak eloquently to the visitor’s memory. The most significant buildings are described below.

Palatine Hill

Flavian Palace

The ruins of the Flavian Palace (Domus Flavia), which was built by the architect Rabirius towards...

Palatine Hill

Domus Tiberiana

The complex built by Tiberius on the Palatine covered much of the west side of the hill between the...

Palatine Hill

Circus Maximus

Erected in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills, the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo in...