Palatine Hill


The Palatine Hill, (/ˈpælətaɪn/; Latin: Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; Italian: Palatino [palaˈtiːno]) which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." The site is now mainly a large open-air museum while the Palatine Museum houses many finds from the excavations here and from other ancient Italian sites.

Imperial palaces were built here started by Augustus. Before Imperial times the hill was mostly occupied by the houses of the rich.

The hill originally had two summits separated by a depression; the highest part was called Palatium and the other Germalus (or Cermalus). Using the Forma Urbis it's perimeter enclosed 63 acres; while the Regionary Catalogues of the 4th century enclose 131 acres.


Location" Location: Via di San Gregorio, 30, Rome 00186 Italy
Visitor Centre but booking recommended Visit Type: Vistor Centre, but booking recommended
Co-ordinates" Co-ordinates: 41.887870, 12.489780



Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Excavations show that people have lived in the area since the 10th century BC. Excavations performed on the hill in 1907 and again in 1948 unearthed a collection of huts believed to have been used for funerary purposes between the 9th and 7th century BC approximating the time period when the city of Rome was founded.

Pallantium (Ancient Greek: Παλλάντιον) was an ancient city near the Tiber river on the Italian peninsula. Roman mythology, as recounted in Virgil's Aeneid for example, states that the city was founded by Evander of Pallene and other ancient Greeks sometime previous to the Trojan War. In addition, Dionysius of Halicarnassus writes that Romans say that the city was founded by Greeks from Pallantium of Arcadia, about sixty years before the Trojan war and the leader was Evander. The myth of the city's origin was significant in ancient Roman mythology because Pallantium became one of the cities that was merged later into ancient Rome, thereby tying Rome's origins to the ancient Greek heroes. Other cities in the area were founded by various Italic tribes.

Virgil states that Evander named the city in honor of his ancestor, Pallas, although Pausanias as well as Dionysius of Halicarnassus say that Evander's birth city was Pallantium, and thus he named the new city after the one in Arcadia. Dionysius of Halicarnassus also mention that some writers, including Polybius of Megalopolis, say that the town was named after Pallas, who was the son of Heracles and Lavinia, the daughter of Evander, and when he died his grandfather raised a tomb to him on the hill and called the place Pallantium, after him.

According to Livy, after the immigration of the Sabines and the Albans to Rome, the original Romans lived on the Palatine. The Palatne 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, the Domus Transitoria, but he replaced it by 69 AD with the even larger Domus Aurea over which was eventually built Domitian's Palace

From the 16th century, the hill was owned by the Farnese family and was occupied by the Farnese Gardens, still partially preserved above the remains of the Domus Tiberiana.

At the top of the hill, between the Domus Flavia and the Domus Augustana, the Villa Mattei was built in the 16th century, then purchased around 1830 by the Scot Charles Mills who turned it into an elaborate neo-Gothic villa. At the end of the 19th century the villa was converted into a convent. This was partially demolished from 1928 to allow excavations and in the surviving part of the building the Palatine Museum has been installed.

Nearby Locations

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Arch of Titus Italy bullet_black0.21 milesNNW
Circus Maximus Italy bullet_black0.27 milesWSW
Collosseum Italy bullet_black0.27 milesWSW
Domus Aurea Italy0.36 milesNE
Roman Forum Italy bullet_black0.38 milesNW
Baths of Trajan Italy0.43 milesNE
Arch of Septimius Severus Italy bullet_black0.43 milesNW
Imperial Fora Italy bullet_black0.43 milesNNW
Capitoline Museums Italy bullet_black0.53 milesNW
Santa Maria in Aracoeli Italy bullet_black0.54 milesNW
Trajan's Forum Italy0.57 milesNNW
Trajan's Market Italy bullet_black0.57 milesNNW
Victor Emmanuel II Monument (Altare della Patria) Italy bullet_black0.61 milesNW
Baths of Caracalla Italy bullet_black0.62 milesSSE
Vicus Caprarius (Trevi Fountain Underground) Italy bullet_black0.91 milesNNW
Trevi Fountain Italy bullet_black0.98 milesNNW
Tomb of the Scipios Italy1.00 milesSSE
Pantheon Italy bullet_black1.00 milesNW
Santa Maria in Trastevere Italy1.01 milesW
Information correct as of 16/09/2020