A Tourist in Rome - Palatine Hill
|Location:||Entrance is on Via di San Gregorio, half way from the Colosseo metro stop to the Circus Maximus|
|Metro:||Colosseo or Circo Massimo|
|Time:||about 2 hours|
|Cost:||€15.50, includes Colosseum and Roman Forum|
|Hours:||Open 8:30 AM to one hour before sunset, every day|
Located between the eastern half of the Roman Forum and the Circus Maximus, the Palatine Hill is one of the two currently non-populated hills of the Seven Hills of Rome, along with the Capitoline Hill. The Palatine was the hill that Romulus setup his home upon in the creation legend of Rome, and it is where the Roman Emperors had their immense palaces. Today, very little remains of many of the buildings once on the Palatine Hill. In my opinion, the signage is poor throughout the site and recommended route is unmarked, making it a rather confused mess that is hard to make sense out of. Shame on the curators of this property for not doing their best to provide a good, clearly explained educational experience for the people who pay to see the site. However, it does have the remains of the palaces, and some of them have enough standing to make them worthwhile to see, so although I would not go onto the Palatine Hill if I had less than 4 days in Rome, I would (and did) go when I had only slightly more than a week. And I went again when I took a second trip to Rome, hoping to be able to make more sense of it. It was still difficult to understand, though.
The Palatine Hill entrance on Via di San Gregorio is a great place to buy your combined ticket for the Palatine Hill, the Colosseum and Roman Forum since the lines there are shorter than at the other two sites. To get there, walk from the Colosseo metro stop, past the Arch of Constantine, and continue about 1.5 times that distance in the same direction where the entrance is on your right. Regardless of where you buy your ticket, though, you can enter at either the entrance on Via di San Gregorio, or from inside the Roman Forum, near the Arch of Titus. Just south of that Via di San Gregorio entrance are remains from an extension of the Aqua Claudia made by emperor Domitian to bring water to the Palatine Hill.
One of the larger and better-preserved palaces on the Palatine Hill is the Domus Augsutiana, named after Augustus, but built by the much later emperor Domitian. Photos are below.
These ancient ruins on the Palatine Hill (photos below) predate the imperial palaces, and even the Roman Republic, and correspond in time to when the creation legend of Rome states that Romulus lived on the hill, so are called the Huts of Romulus. They have been excavated on and off for a century and are perhaps the most sacred site in ancient Rome, being the believed location of the house of Romulus, legendary founder of Rome. The buildings are viewable from a platform above, but you cannot walk among them.
The Severan Arcades (The palace built by Septimius Severus, built over substructures apparently dating from the time of Domitian) overlooking the Circus Maximus from the southern edge of the Palatine Hill (1st photo above) are shown in closer detail in the photos below.
The Neronian Cryptoportico was a closed passageway between the vestibule of Domus Tiberiana and the House of Augustus. The inside of the passageway is shown in the 1st photo below, and an archway still decorated with ancient artwork is shown in the 2nd photo below. Details from that archway are shown in my Palatine Hill photos.
A small museum on the Palatine Hill has a few interesting objects and goes quickly since it is quite small. The first time I visited the Palatine Hill, I was hot, tired, and it was late in the day so I skipped the museum. The second time I visited the Palatine Hill, the museum was completely closed for some reason, and the third time I visited the Palatine Hill, the first floor of the museum was open, where I took my pictures, but the ground floor was closed. Unfortunately a lack of care for the tourist is the predominant feeling I have gotten from the entire site -- the museum is closed without notice at the ticket office, the signs are poor throughout the site, and there is no marked route that matches what's shown in the guide sheet that you might or might not get when you buy a ticket, depending on their supply.
The fountain marked as the Theatre of the Great Fountain on the Palatine Hill guide map that you're handed when you buy your ticket (if you're lucky and they haven't run out yet) is a Nymphaeum named Fontana della Pioggia. It is an artificial grotto in Orti Farnesiani meant to mimic a natural cave that Romans often used to escape the heat of summer.
And finally, a few more pictures of and inside Domus Tiberiana. The 2nd and 3rd photos below are taken along a path that takes you to the north facade of Domus Tiberiana, right at the edge of the Palatine Hill, with the palace on one side of you and the Roman Forum displayed to you at the bottom of the hill on the other side of you. It's quite a remarkable spot, with beautiful views.
Being one of the Seven Hills of Rome, I took Panoramic photos of the view from the top of the hill. The photos below show those panoramic views.