The palatine hill lends its name to a number of words such as Palace and Paladin. The hill was traditionally the place where the she wolf bred the twins Romulus and Remus in a cave. Romulus had his own hut here and successive rulers and emperors built their palaces. Archaeologists have uncovered remains of archaic huts dating as far back as the Iron Age (9th Century BC).
Augustus is said to have had a relatively modest villa. His wife Livia’s house is also here and sports some wonderful paintings well worth visiting. Other dwellers of this prestigious residential hill include the great lawyer Cicero and the poet Catullus. Later emperors weren’t quite as austere as Augustus and reached excesses. Commodus ran the state treasury dry and made a bob or two by converting part of his palace into a casino.
Being right next to the Circus Maximus it is said that Caligula was particularly upset by the noise the rowdy supporters were making as they queued up at early hours of the morning. He supposedly sent his guards down to beat them and shut them up (no pun meant) injuring men women and children indiscriminately.
There are some lovely formal gardens over part of the Palatine. These were planted by the Farnese family in the 16th century. They grow over the remains of Emperor Tiberius’ palace. Good views over the Forum.
Areas of Rome: | The Vatican | Capitoline hill | Palatine hill | The Forums | Villa Borghese & Villa Giulia | Piazza del Popolo | Pantheon | Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori | Quirinal hill | Esquiline hill | Caelius hill | Aventine hill | Trastevere & Janiculum hill | Via Veneto | Outside the city walls | Overview of Rome’s districts and areas |