I have lived in Rome for – gulp – thirteen years, yet I still never tire of walking around and exploring my adopted city. Rome is a big, outdoor museum that has something spectacular to offer visitors – and Romans –seemingly around every corner.
I live near the Palatine Hill and I walk by it every day in the early morning hours, but I’m constantly struck by its beauty in different weather and different light. I am struck by the fact that this hill, which once housed the villas of Ancient Rome’s Emperors, is now so silent and peaceful in the early morning hours – before the tourist buses arrive. I love when the grass around the ruins is overgrown with wildflowers.
My favorite time to visit the Palatine is in the spring, ideally before the gardeners manage to mow the grass and sweep away the beautiful dots of red and purple and yellow wildflowers that emerge from the ruins. The air is inviting and the sun comforting – before the brutal heat of Roman summers – as you explore the remnants of the Emperors of the former Caput mundi.
The Palatine is one of the seven hills of Ancient Rome, and the most important… the cradle of Ancient Rome. It is here where the basket containing the city’s founders – the infant twins Romulus and Remus – is said to arrived. It is also here that the she-wolf is said to have come across the twins and taken them back to her cave. Legend have Romulus and Remus founding Rome.
The Palatine was enlarged under Emperor Augustus, beginning in 63 BC and succeeding Emperors expanded it. But it was during the reign of Domitian (81-96 AD) that the Palatine Hill reached its full glory and took on the appearance we see today. Emperor Domitian placed the Imperial Palace on the Palatine and built many of the palaces whose ruins modern day tourists can view, including the Stadium.
Don’t miss a visit to the Palatine Hill on your visit to Rome. Wandering these ancient ruins during a perfect spring morning makes for a wonderful day.