The Palatine HIll

Episode 30,   Sep 20, 2020, 04:09 PM

As part of this description I will provide some directions and guidance to specific locations to help you explore the site however it is difficult to provide an exact route as the access paths change depending on what archeological excavation or restoration work is taking place. 

This tour starts at the entry gate on Via di San Gregorio.  Once inside the Palatine park, make your way up the hill until you are standing in a wide graveled area overlooking the sunken garden (also known as the Hippodrome). As you walk I will give you some of the general history of the site.

Note that visiting the House of Livia and the House of Augustus requires arranging tickets in advance as only limited small group access is allowed and for both of these you will have a dedicated tour guide. For more details go to

The Palatine Hill is said to be the site of the first settlements in Rome and archeological evidence shows indeed that human habitation here extends back to the 10th century BCE.  Visible today are therefore the remains of multiple phases of building, rebuilding, stone robbing and overlaying of structures across three thousand years of people living on this hill. Although names have been given to some structures often there is no reliable evidence that links a person to a specific house however you will see that some structures are labelled with Roman names, these are largely a matter of convention rather than evidence that a particular person lived there.

The rich and wealthy had long sought to live here overlooking the Roman Forum but it was Emperor Augustus who established the trend of Rome’s emperors making it their imperial residence from around the year 40 BCE.  Redevelopment of the hillside over the following centuries means that there is still some debate over the exact identification of buildings from Augustus’ time, some do remain but most of the major large-scale structures we see today were commissioned by Emperor Domitian in the first century or later revised or repaired by the Severan emperors of the third century. Domitian’s extensive palace, which is the first area we will explore, was designed by Rabirius, the construction and remodeling took roughly 10 years and was completed around the year 90. 

This episode describes:

- Domitian's Palace
- The Temple of Apollo
- The House of Livia
- The House of Augustus
- The House of Romulus
- The Temple of Victory
- The Temple of the Great Mother

As well as other general history of the Palatine Hill.