The famous seven hills of Rome

April 26, 2018

The story of seven hills starts with the creation of Rome. The two brothers, the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus disputed over which hill should be the foundation for the city. Once Romulus murdered his brother in a vicious quarrel he made a choice that it is the Palatine hill (unlike Aventine hill, which is what Remus wanted) where Rome will be constructed.

Map of the seven hills of Rome
Map of the seven hills of Rome

The evocative scenery, an almost idyllic one of the hills unfolds unique stories of Rome’s past and the people that inhabited it. Vibrant, busy, inspiring and indeed magnificent are the hills in the present day. They beat like hearts, each one pumping in a unique essence of what early life in Rome must have been like. 

Today, largely untouched by the modern-day woes of civilisation are remains of well-preserved structures that speak of the glorious time of ancient Rome. You can observe the grounds with a definitive awe at these exciting and incredibly beautiful relics but also gaze at the mesmerizing Roman skyline, with each hill offering a different story and a different view of the city. These seven hills are the core of the ancient Rome, however, today there are other Roman hills which together form the city's landscape.  

Once you start making your way, on a fine and bright early morning, consider starting with the central hill- The Palatine Hill and then go ahead towards the others. 

The Palatine Hill (Palatino)

View of the Palatine hill
Palatine Hill

This is the most famous hill of Rome’s Seven Hills. From the crest of this hill, a view of Roman Forum stretches out and on the other side the view of the Circus Maximus. Today this is an archaeological site tied to a mythological story that this hill is a place of the cave where the she-wolf found the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The ruins throughout the hill show for the way Roman emperors and the elite used to live and how their palaces and gardens were embellished. 

Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio)

Capitoline museum hill Rome
The Caoitoline Museums

Situated right next to the Palatine Hill, it holds a religious importance. This is the smallest of the seven hills, serving as a citadel in the ancient times. It was known to be a place where the temples dedicated to gods were built, out of which the largest and the most important is The Temple of Jupiter. And in the 16th century, the hill was landscaped by Michelangelo. The well-known Piazza del Campidoglio was also designed by Michelangelo as well as the facades of the surrounding buildings. The view of the Vatican city from the hill is truly magnificent. 

Aventine Hill (Aventino)

Orange garden Aventine Hill Rome
The Orange Garden

The Aventine hill holds an important place in the rich mythology of Rome’s foundation but also as a spot for luxurious residential architecture. Covered in elegant villas and lush gardens this is a wonderful place for a walk and a view of the Tiber river. The ancient library of Asinius Pollio an incredible relic not to be missed can be visited here. 

Caelian Hill (Celio)

Ancient basilica church Santi Giovanni e Paolo
Ancient basilica church Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Located just behind the Colosseum, covered in trees and peacefully quiet is the Caelian hill. The famous baths of Caracalla were built here which you can now explore with the new virtual 3D tour. Among the tree lines and gardens of the hill, there are many notable churches to be seen, an impressive Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo, Basilica di San Clemente and Basilica dei Santi Quattro Coronati. Another sight for sore eyes is the Villa Celimontana gardens which are one of the most beautiful in the whole city. 

Esquiline Hill (Esquilino)

Esquiline Hill
Esquiline Hill

Considered as the largest of the seven hills, Esquiline Hill rises behind the Colosseum and it is here that Nero built his infamous extensive and extravagant golden house Domus Aurea, the most opulent structure built in Roman civilisation. The Colossus, Temple of Claudius, and the Baths of Trajan were all nestled on this hill. The top of the hill is adorned with the largest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome, the magnificent Santa Maria Maggiore.

Quirinal Hill (Quirinale)

Piazza del Quirinale
Piazza del Quirinale

The Quirinal Hill is situated most northerly of the seven hills and it is the highest of them all. It features the Quirinal Palace, one of three current official residences of the President of the Italian Republic but in the 19th century, it was a residency to the Pope. The palace is open for visitors each Sunday when a collection of beautiful objects such as jewels, tapestry and artwork can be seen at a display. Because this was a place that attracted aristocracy of the ancient times, the hill is filled with other grand palaces which are a delight to see. 

Viminal Hill (Viminale)

Piazza della Repubblica Rome
Piazza della Repubblica

This is the smallest hill of the Seven Hills with only a few monuments from the ancient times. It is home to the remarkable Teatro dell’ Opera where you can enjoy in one of their fine opera shows. Roma Termini, the main train station which is one of the most important railway stations in Italy and also one of the biggest in Europe, is situated here. It is an amazing work of 20th-century architecture. Right next to it is the Piazza della Repubblica with a mesmerizing fountain of the Naidas. 

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