Palatino

Via dei Fori Imperiali - 00186 Rome
Campitelli [R.X]
Zona Archeologica [1X]

The Palatine

It is one of the seven hills which keeps the most ancient memories
of Rome

This legendary hill which rises 40 meters to the south of Forum
and 51 over the sea level was dominating the Tevere bend with the first
harbour of Rome and the same valley of Forum.
It was consisted of three tops: the Palatium, the Germalus, the Velia.
The first two assembled hills formed the Roma Quadrata that appeared
to be a first nucleus founded by Romolo according to the tradition.
Romulus was the first inhabitant in the hut that spread away
to other settlements of the neighbour hills.

It has a trapezoidale form with the longest southern side facing
the Murcia Valley where further the Circo Massimo rises up.

The ancient name Palatium probably derives from
Pales, which means " goddess of herding" in honour of which
Palilia was celebrated. This holiday became then the date of
the town's foundation which the Roman official historyography
appointed to the 21st of April in 754 or 753 a.c.

The first traces of huts date to the beginning of the iron age.
The huts are settled up exactly in the point where the tradition wanted
to place the Romolo's house, which during the imperial age was continuously
restored.

When in 1948 the excavations had brought three huts to the light from
the iron age the emotions were very strong: the archaeology approved
the myth.

The remains of the Palatine keep the most ancient memories of the town
and tell the most ancient traditions of Rome. Here the greeks
Evandro and Pallante settled down and were found by Eneus and Hercules.
At its feet there was the Lupercale, the grotto in which the Romolus
and Remus were nourished by the mythical Wolf. Here was the House of
Romolus where neareby Augustus placed his own house close to
the temples and to the public buildings. Later the construction of
private buildings belonging to the famous roman citizens like Gracco,
Crasso, Cicerone, Clodio began here and the Palatine became
a synonymous of residence.

Here the so-called Imperial Palaces were raised then: the Tiberius
palace, the Nero's palace (the Domus Aurea reached it up),
the Flavia Palace, which was the Domus Augustana, and the Settimio Severo
palace.So it became the residence of the emperors enlarged
so much for o reduce to the minimum the space covered by private residences
to the minimum.

The name Palatium acquired later the meaning of an imperial
residence and it became a common name in all the European languages

Later undertaking frequent absence of Roman emperors and the decay
of the town, the Palatine was also declining but remaining official
residence of the gothique kings and the bysantine tsars. Popes and
emperors ending by Ottone III of the new Western Empire also lived
there

After the first century, inside and beyond the ancient ruins
convents, churches, gardens,fortifications of nobles rised up here.
Especially the Frangipane dominated here in a castle built on ancient
ruins.

In 1535 Vignola designed for Alessandro Farnese a villa with splendid
gardens, and a big part of the hill was changed into
the pleasant and sumptuous Farnese villa (dismantled in the end of '800
caused by some archaeological excavations). Farnesiani Orchards were
the first botanical orchards of the world. The property of Farnese
passed to the Bourbons of Naples.

In the first half of the XVIIIth century half the excavations began.
The Parma dukes excavated and sacked the Domiziano Palace but
the regular archaeological exploration directed by P.Rosa started only
after Napoleone III had bought the Farnesiani Orchards in 1860.

Having united Rome and Italy, the Italian government bought it
from Napoleone III and firstly initiated the excavations under the Rosa,
the Vaglieri and the Boni. The last one revokes the ancient memories
of the central part of the Palatine with interesting paintings of
the Republican age.The excavation of the Domus Augustana
and the restoration of all ruins which stretched out
on the valley of the Circo Massimo owe themselves to Bartoli.
Under the direction of successorsthe excavations brought
o the light the remains of primitive huts and
other structures.

On the oriental side of the Palatine the new entry to the excavations
from the Via di San Gregorio has been reset and formed with
the monumental Cinquecento portal which until1882 gave an access
to the Farnesiani Orchards from the side of
Foro Romano.
The portal appears to be a work of art created by Vaglieri (the lower part)
and by Rainaldi (the higher part).

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