SETTE COLLI – EN
Esquiline, Colle Oppio
The Esquiline is the highest and most extensive of the seven hills, and the Colle Oppio itself is one of its three heights. Today it presents itself as an archaeological park where you can observe the remains of the Baths of Trajan, the first of the large public bathhouses built in Rome during the imperial period. Hidden under the Colle Oppio park there are still the remains of the Domus Aurea (Golden House), the famous villa of Nero.
Built in the 1st century AD, the Colosseum (or Amphitheatrum Flavium) at the behest of the emperor Vespasian is the largest and most impressive amphitheater ever built in the world. Just think that every year, the Colosseum is visited by more than 7 million people. Some of the most popular and followed games took place in the Amphitheater, such as the famous encounters between gladiators, the fights with ferocious animals, and almost certainly naumachies (naval battles). This majestic monument leaves the tourist and the natives of the eternal city, literally speechless.
One of the seven hills, the Caelian Hill in Roman times was mainly used for residential purposes, but temples and gardens were also located in this area.
Porta di Celimontana
The highest part of the hill can be reached by passing through the Porta di Celimontana (also known as Arco di Dolabella), one of the few well-preserved gates of the Servian Wall.
Basilica of Saints John and Paul
Minor basilica dedicated to the martyr saints John and Paul. Underneath the church several buildings have been found dating back to a period between the 1st and 4th century AD.
Temple of the Divine Claudius
The temple was built on the Caelian Hill at the behest of Agrippina Minor in honor of her late husband, Emperor Claudius, who was deified after his death. This imposing temple had a similar fate to many other Roman structures: it fell into disuse and was, over the centuries, reused in many ways until, starting from the 11th century, it was used as foundation for a medieval convent and bell tower.
Even if today only a few archaeological rests remain of the Circus Maximus, it is still possible to imagine its vastness and grandeur. 600 meters long by 140 meters wide, practically as long as five soccer fields and as wide as two. If you think that its beginning goes probably back to the 6th century BC, we can already imagine the effect it will have on seeing it live. It is in fact the largest stadium for sports and games ever built in history, and in all probability the valley in which its remains are situated today was the first place used by the Romans for various types of games, chariot races were considered the most popular and spectacular.
From the Circus Maximus you can enjoy a splendid view of the Palatine Hill. The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and is probably the hill on which the history of the city began. That is what Roman legend tells, but there are also many archaeological remains that can support this thesis. In Roman times the Palatine Hill has always been the hill where the most important families built their homes, and in the imperial age many of the emperors built their palaces there, whose imposing ruins are visible to the present day.
The Aventine is the hill located further south directly on the bank of the Tiber. The legend tells, that this was the hill chosen by Remus (brother of Romulus) for the foundation of his city “Remuria”. In the Republican age, the Aventine was a place of residence above all for the Plebs, a rather poor neighborhood. Only during imperial age did it become popular even for the more affluent class. Today it is still a residential area. Being very green and silent, you will find above all elegant villas and palaces.
Keyhole of Rome
On the Aventine Hill the Villa of the Priory of Malta is located. It is an extraterritorial seat of the knights of Malta since 1869. Attached to this villa there is a beautiful garden with a wonderful view. But being extraterritorial it is not possible for almost anyone to visit it. For those who are curious, however, there is the possibility of “spying” inside the garden from the outside, through the “Buco di Roma”, the most famous keyhole in Italy.
This small park with the official name “Parco Savello” occupies an area where in the 13th century the noble Savelli family built their fort. Today, however, it is a beautiful public garden famous above all for the many bitter orange trees that are planted there, and for the splendid view that can be enjoyed from the panoramic terrace.
Located directly on the banks of the Tiber and close to the ancient port, the Forum Boarium in Roman times was the place where the cattle market took place. Here you can also admire the beautiful temple of Hercules Victor (120 BC) and the famous Mouth of Truth. Since the Middle Ages the legend has been circulating that anyone who puts their hand into the Mouth of Truth after telling a lie will have their hand bitten off by it. This ritual was particularly popular for recognizing adulterers. Today, however, curious tourists have to expect a long line before they can convince themselves of the truth of this legend.
Campidoglio or Monte Capitolino is one of the seven hills of Rome. In antiquity some of the most important temples such as the one dedicated to the Capitoline Triad were erected in this area. From this hill you can enjoy a wonderful view over the entire Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. One of the most spectacular views in the world, where you can see from above several Roman eras in a short distance from each other. The Piazza del Campidoglio was entirely rearranged by Michelangelo in the 16th century, however, it includes many sculptures from ancient Rome. Of particular note are two statues now replaced by copies, the equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and that of the Capitoline Wolf with Romulus and Remus (founders of Rome).
Built between 46 B.C. and 113 A.D. the Imperial Forums are monumental squares built by Julius Caesar and the emperors Augustus, Nerva and Trajan. They served as an extension of the public area next to the Roman Forum, where temples, libraries and courthouses stood. But the Forums were also thought of as a place of propaganda. To date, the Trajan’s Column can be admired on the Trajan’s Forum, a triumphal column that celebrated the conquest of Dacia.
The Quirinal Hill is the hill located further north of the ancient city of Rome. The legend tells that during the royal era this hill was inhabited by the Sabines. Later it was the site of important temples and bathhouses. Today the Quirinal Hill is dominated above all by the Quirinal Square and the Quirinal Palace, which since 1946 has served as the residence of the President of the Italian Republic, before which it was used for a few decades as the official residence of the King of Italy. But originally this beautiful seventeenth-century palace was built as a papal residence.
The Viminal Hill is the smallest Roman hill. For many centuries it was primarily used as a middle class residential area and there are no remains of important religious or public buildings from this period, until in the 4th century the emperor Diocletian built the largest and most sumptuous of the Roman public baths. With the fall of the empire these baths as well as many Roman buildings fell into disuse and for many centuries served as a quarry until, in the sixteenth century, a part of them was transformed into a church.