Monday, August 17, 2015



51 m (167 feet) above sea level

It was the most suitable place for the creation of a settlement to control the area below, the so called Forum Boarium, important market near the river port

There are remains of artifacts dating back to the middle Paleolithic (100.000/35.000 BC) proving the human presence in prehistoric times although the first settlement dates from the late Bronze Age (1.300/1.200 BC)

The first urbanization took place in the early Iron Age (800/700 BC) on the top of Germalus, the place where tradition has placed the house of Romulus and in accordance with the chronological Varronian tradition locating here the foundation of Rome sixteen generations after the Trojan war, i.e. in 754/753 BC

With urbanization one refers to:
1) Agricultural increase with surpluses
2) Early secondary and tertiary activities
3) Contacts with the contemporary Greek colonization in Ischia and Cumae

The day of the foundation, April 21, was the same of the feast for the ancient cult of Pales, Italic goddess of flocks and shepherds, which would give rise to the name of the hill, Palatium

The ROMA QUADRATA (Square Rome) mentioned by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, Dio, Solinus and Festo included Palatine and Germalus excluding the Velia

Tacitus gives some indication of the primitive enclosure of the city, under which it is possible to hypothesize the following route, along approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles):
From S. Anastasia, along the south side of the Palatine to St. Gregory, then bend toward the Arch of Constantine, then to the Arch of Titus and S. Francesca Romana then to rejoin the track's Via San Teodoro and down the Velabro again until S. Anastasia

The ends were marked by altars:
The High Altar of Hercules in the Forum Boarium
The Altar of Consus in the valley of the Circus Maximus
The Sanctuary of the Lares at the foot of the Velia
The Curiae Veteres at the northwest corner of Palatine Hill

The hill was always a favorite place for the rich homes of notables. Among the ones who lived here in the late Republican period Marco Emilio Scaurus, Crassus, Cicero, the triumvir Mark Antony and then Augustus (27 BC/14)

His choice was followed by his successors, especially Nero (54/68), Domitian (81/96) with his architect Rabirius, Septimius Severus (193/211) and Elagabalus (218/222)

A single large complex was built called PALATIUM (the Palace) from the name of the hill and not viceversa

It was the seat of Gothic kings (as Theodoric), Byzantines exarchs, popes and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, until Otto III (983/1002)

Then there was complete abandonment and reuse of churches, convents, houses, towers and fortresses (Frangipane family)
In 1542 most of the hill was transformed by Jacopo Barozzi aka Vignola (1507/73) by order of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in the VILLA DEGLI ORTI FANESIANI (Villa Farnese Gardens) which was a botanical garden, with new plants such as the acacia farnesiana

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