One of my favourite days in Rome was the day I visited Palatine Hill. As I walked around this beautiful hill, past gardens and remnants of opulent palaces, I imagined how luxurious it must have been when it was ancient Rome’s most exclusive neighbourhood.
As Rome’s most central hill, the Palatine sits between Circo Massimo and the Roman Forum (which you can enjoy great views of from above). This convenient location, and its splendid views, made Palatine Hill “the place to live” in ancient Rome. Rome’s most powerful and wealthy residents soon built their homes here. Even Emperor Augustus called Palatine Hill home for his entire lifetime.
Eventually, the Palatine was completely taken over by Rome’s emperors, each outdoing his predecessor by building increasingly lavish palaces.
After Rome’s decline, Palatine Hill became neglected and it’s former glories fell in to ruin. In the Middle Ages, churches and castles were built over the ruins and during the Renaissance, members of wealthy families established gardens on the hill.
Much of the hill, as it appears today, is covered by the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s imperial palace, private residence and stadium.
Mythology of Palatine Hill
The Palatine is widely referred to as the mythical founding place of Rome. According to mythology, Palatine Hill was where twins Romulus and Remus were found by a female wolf that would keep them alive. A shepherd named Faustulus later discovered the infants, and took them home to be raised by his wife, Acca Larentia.
When Remus and Romulus were older, the boys decided to build a new city of their own on the banks of the Tiber river. As brothers sometimes do, they got into an argument about where to establish the new city. The disagreement had a violent end when Romulus killed his twin brother. Romulus then became the first king of Rome, the city named after himself, on April 21, 753 BC.
There’s obviously no proof to support this story, but archaeological evidence shows that people have lived on Palatine Hill since approximately 1000 BC.
Photos of Palatine Hill
Here are some pictures of Palatine Hill taken during my self-guided tour.
Tips for Visiting Palatine Hill
- There are two entrances to Palatine Hill, one on the Via Fori Imperiali, the other on Via San Gregorio. The exits are located at the Arch of Titus and the Mamertino prison.
- Entrance to the Palatine is included in the combined ticket for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (valid for 2 days). See below for a link where you can buy tickets online.
- Hours vary according to the season, but the Palatine always open at 8:30 am. The earliest closing time is 4:30 pm from the end of October to mid February. The latest closing time is 7:15 pm from the end of March to end of August.
- To search for hotels near Palatine Hill, please visit Booking.com, our trusted booking site that we use for all our trips. Accommodations booked through the included link earn us a small commission, at no extra cost to you, and help support this website. Thank you!
Information was correct at the time of publishing but can change without notice. Please confirm directly with service providers.
Buy Digital Tickets to Palatine Hill
For quick and convenient access to Rome’s ancient monuments, here is a trusted site where you can buy digital tickets and have them immediately delivered to your smartphone (no need to print).
Purchases made through the included links earn us a small commission, at no extra cost to you, and help support this website. Thank you!