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The Seven Hills of Rome

shutterstock 163501805If you know Rome, you likely know it was built on seven hills but few of us know the names of those hills or the historical stories connected to them. So we have compiled the information below to give some background which will tie into the history of this ancient city.

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Seven Hills of Rome (All east of the Tiber River, within what was the 1st wall of Rome, 2nd was the Aurelian Wall.)

The monuments and ruins of the two most historic hills, the Capitoline and the Palatine mark the centre of ancient Rome, capital of the classical world and seat of a vast empire.

The Servian Wal

The Servian Wall was constructed as a defensive barrier around the city in the early 4th century BC. It was 3.6 metres thick, 11kms long with more than a dozen gates.

The terrain with its underlying geologic framework has played an important role in the success of Rome as a city and Empire. The Tiber River, crucial to water transport into Ancient Rome was trapped on the west by the fault blocks of the Janiculum and Vatican hills.

The Tiber's east banks are volcanic plateaus, composed of deposits from explosive eruptions in the Alban Hills. In addition to forcing the Tiber toward the west, these deposits make up the "Seven Hills of Rome".

PALATINE

The Palatine Hill was occupied since the iron age and by tradition where Romulus founded the city of Rome. Palaces and Gardens were located here.

Rome has its origins on the Palatine Hill. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave where Romulus & Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend the shepherd Faustulus found the infants and with his wife Acca raised the children.

When they were older the boys killed their great-uncle (who seized the throne from their father) and they both decided to build a new city on their own on the banks of the Tiber River. Tragically after a violent argument Romulus killed his brother Remus. Romulus then founded the city known as Rome.

There are still ongoing excavations on the Palatine Hill revealing ancient temples (Apollo and Cybele) and palaces.

By the time of Rome's Republican Era Palatine Hill became the fashionable place to live. Augustus, Cicero & Marc Antony all had home on the hill.
Later, emperors built their domains here and at one point the entire hill was covered with imperial palaces.

CAPITOLINE

The Capitoline Hill held the seat of government, the Capitol, whose name is commemorated in every "capital" city in the world, as well as in government buildings, such as the Capitol in Wasington, DC.

The plateau is topped with the Piazza del Campidoglio via the ramp designed by Michelangelo. (The Cordonata in 1559).

The buildings around three sides of the Campidoglio are : the Palazzo Sertatario (Rome's City Hall), the Palazzo dei Conservatori, and the Pallazo Nuovo (the last two are museums)

On the northern slope of the Capitoline above the Piazza Venezia is the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, built between 1885 and 1911 to honour the first King of unified Italy.

AVENTINE

The Aventine, Capitoline and Palatine are the closest to the Tiber River. The Aventine Hill was the heart of plebeian Rome in ancient times. These days the 'working-class' quarters of the city are further south, and the Aventine is in fact one of city's more upscale residential areas, covered with villas and gardens.

ESQUILINE

The highest and largest of the seven hills and was one of the most fashionable residential quarters of ancient Rome. After the fire of 64AD, Nero began to build a huge palace here, the Domus Aurea, or "Golden House". The façade was said to be coated in solid gold, there was hot and cold running water in the baths, one of the dining rooms was rigged up to shower flowers and natural scent on guests, and the grounds – which covered a full square mile- held vineyards and game. Nero only lived a few years after its completion and Vespasian tore it down in disgust, draining one of its lakes and building the Colosseum on top. Later Trajan built his baths on top of the rest of the complex, and it was pretty much forgotten about until the wall paintings were discovered by Renaissance artists, including Raphael, who was influenced by them when working in the Vatican palace.

CELIAN

The Celian Hill, just behind the Colosseum and the furthest south of the seven hills housed a zoo for the animals that would be used in the Colossseum. It is clothed in green woodland with the gorgeous park of Villa Celimontana.QUIRINAL HILL
The Quirinal Hill is currently the location of the official residence of the Italian Head of State, who resides in the Quirinal Palace. According to Roman Legend, Quirinal Hill was the site of a small village of the Sabines and king Titus Tatius lived there after the peace between the Romans and the Sabines. The Sabines erected alters to honour their god Quirinus. Currently it is the residence of the President of the Italian Republic. Before the abolition of the Italian monarchy in 1946 it was the residence of the King of Italy & before 1871 it was the residence of the Pope.

VIMINAL

Smallest and the last to be included inside the walls of Rome. The Viminal was the least important of the hills of the city and contained few monuments in ancient times.

Today it is home to the Teatro dell'Opera and the Termini Railway station. At the tome of the hill is the Palace of Viminale – currently referring to the "Minister of the Interior".

In the valley which lies between the Imperial For a and the Quirinal, abutting the Viminal , was the celebrated Subura (sometimes written Suburra) – the quarter of shops, makets, and artificers – a busy, noisy, vulgar section, not beautiful, but full of life, enterprise and wickedness.

.......Debbie Lloyd, Owner and Founder, The Travel Broker & Cruise Centre