Mirabilia Urbis: Rome Walking Tours

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The Palatine Hill: Home to Ancient Rome's Rich and Famous

After hiking up an ancient road, whose stones the orator Cicero trodded on with his heavy steps, we'll refresh ourselves among the rich foliage of the Farnese Gardens. The gardens decorate part of the Palatine Hill and from here we'll enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area. We can imagine what Romulus and his gang of cattle-rustlers and brigands would have seen almost 3000 years ago: the Tiber winding below us, the tree-lined Capitoline hill and the mysterious Gianicolo hill across the river in Trastevere--Etruscan territory in those days!

As the neighboring Roman Forum grew into a bona fide downtown, the Palatine became hot property for Rome's rich, famous, and infamous. Expensive villas sprawled over this ancient version of Beverly Hills, and the well-to-do wanted nothing more than to acquire a home here.  Soon the first Emperor of Rome, Augustus, called this Hill home.  After which, the Palatine slowly became the seat of a series of Imperial palaces as later Emperors squeezed out their aristocratic neighbors in order to enlarge their own homes.

In fact one of our most important stops is the Emperor Domitian's palace, built from circa 80 to 90 A.D. Traipsing through the remains of a building that would have made Versailles look shabby, we'll explore a world of comfort and luxury that we do not always associate with ancient life.



Entrance fee to the Palatine € 12.  This ticket automatically includes the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Children access the site free of charge.

Note: If requested, we can peek briefly into the recently opened House of Augustus.  Meanwhile, the House of Livia is still closed for restoration.  If visitors are interested, we can also stroll through the small museum that houses some of the treasures unearth on the Palatine Hill during excavations.