Name: Palatine Hill
Italian name: Palatino
The Palatine Hill (Latin: Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city of Rome in Italy. It stands 40 metres above the Forum Romanum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and 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 Larentia raised the children. When they were older this is where Romulus decided to build Rome. Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people have lived there since approximately 1000 BC. Many affluent Romans of the Republican period (510 BC - c. 44 BC) had their residences there. The ruins of the palaces of Augustus (63 BC - 14), Tiberius (42 BC - 37) and Domitian (51 - 96) can still be seen. Augustus also built a temple to Apollo here, beside his house. The Palatine Hill was also the site of the festival of the Lupercalia. One building, believed to be the residence of Livia (58 BC - 29), the wife of Augustus, is currently undergoing renovation. Situated near to the house of Livia is the temple of Cybele, currently not fully excavated and not open to the public. Behind this structure, cut into the side of the hill, is the so-called House of Tiberius. Overlooking the Forum Romanum is the Flavian Palace which was built largely during the reign of the Flavian dynasty (69 - 96) - Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. This palace, which was extended and modified by several emperors, extends across the Palatine Hill and looks out over the Circus Maximus. The building of the greater part the palace visible from the Circus was undertaken in the reign of the emperor Septimius Severus (146 - 211). Immediately adjacent to the palace of Severus is the Hippodrome of Domitian. This is a structure which has the appearance of a Roman Circus and whose name means Cirgus in Greek, but is of insufficient size to accommodate chariots. It can be better described as a Greek Stadium, that is, a venue for foot races. However, the exact purpose of this one is disputed. While it is certain that during the Severan period it was used for sporting events, it was most likely originally built as a garden shaped like a stadium. According to guide from the Sopraintendenza Archeologica di Roma, most of the statuary in the nearby Palatine museum comes from the Hippodrome. (Domitian also built a larger stadium that was actually used for foot-racing competitions; it exists today as Piazza Navona, lo stadio di Domiziano.) The Palatine Hill is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during the daytime for a small charge on the same ticket as Colosseum. There are two entrances, one near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum and the other on Via di San Gregorio, the street just beyond the Arch of Constantine, going away from the Colosseum. During Augustus' reign, an area of the Palatine Hill was roped off for a sort of archaeological expedition, which found fragments of Bronze Age pots and tools. He declared this site the "original town of Rome". Modern archaeology has identified evidence of Bronze Age settlement in the area which predates Rome's founding. There is a museum on the Palatine in which artifacts dating from before the official foundation of the City are displayed. The museum also contains Roman statuary. An altar to an unknown deity, once thought to be Aius Locutius, was discovered here in 1820. In July 2006, archaeologists announced the discovery of the Palatine House, which they believe to be the birthplace of Rome's first Emperor, Augustus. Head archaeologist Clementina Panella stated that the team had uncovered a section of corridor and other fragments under Rome's Palatine Hill, which she described on July 20 as "a very ancient aristocratic house." The two story house appears to have been built around an atrium, with frescoed walls and mosaic flooring, and is situated on the slope of the Palatine that overlooks the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine. The Republican-era houses on the Palatine were overbuilt by later palaces after the Great Fire of Rome (64), but apparently this one was not; the tempting early inference is that it was preserved for a specific and important reason. On the ground floor, three shops opened onto the Via Sacra. The location of the domus is important because of its potential proximity to the Curiae Veteres, the earliest shrine of the curies of Rome. In January 2007 Italian archeologist Irene Iacopi announced that she probably found the legendary Lupercal cave beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine. Archaeologists came across the 15-meter-deep cavity while working to restore the decaying palace. The first photos of the cave show a richly decorated vault encrusted with mosaics and seashells. The Lupercal was probably converted to a sanctuary by Romans in later centuries.
From Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Palatine_Hill&oldid=155444146>.
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