When tourists plan their trips to Rome, attractions such as the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel are usually the first few places which they list as ‘must-sees’. All too often, the Palatine Hill – commonly referred to as the birthplace of this great city – is overlooked. However native Italians, like Francesco Corallo, will probably know that if you wish to learn more about Rome’s fascinating past during your holiday, this hill is the best spot to visit. Here, you will find a number of historically significant sites, including some of the city’s first huts.
The Palatine Hill stands approximately 40 metres above the ground, and offers spectacular views of both the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. Essentially, this hill now functions as an outdoor museum, which tourists can explore at their leisure at any time of the day or night. You can enter via one of its two entrances; namely, Via San Gregorio, or Via Fori Imperiali.
The ruins of Septimius Severus, a palace which dates back to 193AD, can be found at the southern tip of the hill, close to Circus Maximus. Next to this structure, you’ll find the magnificent Hippodrome of Domitian, which is thought to have been used for chariot and foot races, as well as the Baths of Septimius Severus.
On the opposite end of the hill, overlooking the Roman Forum, lie the famous Farnese Gardens. These were created on behalf of Alessandro Farnese, who served as a cardinal during the 16th century. Inside, there are rows upon rows of oleander and rose bushes, orange trees and boxwood.
One of the best preserved sites here is the House of Livia; dating back more than 2000 years, this was once the home of its namesake, and her husband Emperor Augustus, during their later years. As an Italian Francesco Corallo may be aware that, due to the excavation work which is currently being carried out in this particular building, tourists can only view it by booking an appointment in advance.
However, another structure on the hill – the House of Augustus – may be of interest to those who wish to learn more about the first emperor of the city. Historians believe that Augustus, Julius Caesar’s heir, was born and raised in this house. Although quite small in comparison to the palaces in which he resided during his adult life, this house is nonetheless fascinating, and contains a beautiful collection of ancient frescos.