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Rome, Italy - the Palatine Hill - visit with the Rome archaeological pass

The Palatine Hill is one of the nine Rome museums / archaeological sites that may be visited using the Rome Archaeological pass. Below is some background information.

Between the Roman Forum, the Velabrum and the Circus Maximus lies the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, and supposedly the first settlement in the city. Rome is a history where history blends with myth of course, and mythology pinpoints the west slope of the Palatine Hill as both the home of Romulus, and the cave where Romulus and Remus were raised by their adoptive wolf mother.

During the Republic, the Palatine Hill was the most exclusive address in Rome, and during the Empire it became the location for ever grander palaces (the word itself is derived from ‘Palatine’) as the worthies of Rome tried to outdo each other. Today, the ruins sit amidst pleasant green parkland; you can break off from your explorations of antiquity to relax, maybe picnic and take in the view.

Walking up from the Forum, you’ll come first to the Domus Flavia, a ruin of one of the grandest residences, though with traces of its original fountain. Next is the Domus Augustana, the private home of the Roman emperors. This enormous structure looks down upon a huge central courtyard, and then over to the Stadium. Beyond the Stadium, the Baths of Septimius Severus lie on the side of the hill, overlooking the Colosseum and the Celian Hill and its churches.

Track back to the Cryptoporticus and thence to the House of Livia, part of Augustus’s residence and with some surviving fresco work. Further on lie the Farnese Gardens, laid out in the 1500s by Cardian Alessandro Farnese, and one of the earliest botanical gardens laid out in Europe. From here you can see St Peter’s, The Foro Romano, and the excavations of an Iron Age village, which points to a history rather older than the Classical mythology would have us believe.

Finally you reach the Palatine Antiquarium Museum, constructed on top of Domitian's Palace, previously the site of the Covento della Visitazione, itself built in 1868. The museum was established in 1930 by Alfonso Bartoli, and was initially used to house finds from the excavations of Diocletian Baths. It now houses a vast collection of artefacts (pottery, sculpture and pieces of architecture) that have been excavated from the Palatine Hill over the past century and a half. Following a reorganisation at the end of the sixties, the museum charts the culture of Classical Rome from the time of Augustus to the latter days of the Empire.

Click here for the main information page for the Rome Archaeological Pass.

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