The Palatine Hill

After our Colosseum visit, a short walk took us to the entrance to the Palatine Hill for another revisit. No queues here, while the inscription on the entrance itself reminds us that the Palatine would be incorporated into gardens of noble famiilies like the Farnese and Barberini.

This was a peaceful tree-lined oasis, bearing little immediate sign that it had housed some of the most powerful leaders of antiquity (and that pine cone was as big as my foot!).

Relatively modern buildings, including the convent housing the site’s museum, stood side by side with ruins of the imperial residences which would eventually give us our word for “palace”.

The main imperial palace that partially survives to us today is the Domus Flavia from 92 AD, built by Domitian and divided into two wings – the private and lavishly decorated “Domus Augustana”, and the public wing, the Domus Flavia.  We are even lucky enough to know the name of the architect: Rabirius.

The  Domus Augustana even housed Domitian’s own private hippodrome, reminiscent of a mini Circus Maximus (to which the palace itself actually gave access).

I usually rely on my own photos, but this view from the Circus Maximus gives a sense of the scale of the grandeur of the palace.

Palatine Hill Rome Panorama from Circus Maximus

(Attribution: By Chris 73 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0c or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s much more to see here, of course, including the houses of Livia and Augustus, and the Barberini Gardens, but that’s for another day as before the heat of the day built too much, we had decided it was time to progress to the Roman Forum.

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