Home » Rome – The Palatino Hill & Roman Forum

Rome – The Palatino Hill & Roman Forum

On top of Palantino Hill, once stood the Grand Palace of the Roman Empire, constructed during the Flavian Dynasty. It was the biggest palace ever constructed during the Flavian Dynasty. It reflected the wealth and power of the Roman Empire at its heyday. The floors and walls of this once amazing Palace were all coated with marble. The English word “Palace” came from the name of this Hill – Palatine.

Palatine Hill is now a large open air museums for one and all to enjoy for a small fee.

In the above picture, I like to call this the spot where the legend about Romulus and Remus took place in history. The story is quite interesting. Here’s a good read. It’s important to know so as to better appreciate the beauty of seeing Rome in her heydays in your minds. Romulus eventually grew up admist much fighting and finally named Roma after himself and served as the first King.
Shortly after Rome’s population grew and Romulus realised that there were many men and few women. That was when the “Rape of the Sabine Women” took place. 
Oh I am getting so excited telling this to you! Proof of significant events in history are evident in the museums I was to visit in the rest of Italy. So I’ll tell you more as we go. For now, I shall be content with telling about the Palatino Hill.
Recent excavations show that people have lived here since approximately 1000BC. Gosh! That’s 3008 years ago.
So here I am, finding myself surrounded by relics and feeling all overwhelmed with amazement when my tour guide very cruelly and abruptly said, “Oh those are unwanted stuff. The prized ones are all in the museums already.”
Let me help to fan your imagination. This place can be described to be like a Greek Stadium, used mainly for foot races because it is too small for chariots. The real use of this place is quite disputed. According to my guide, Domitian Flavian used to challenge himself and those who were privileged enough to be invited in to the palace with all sorts of games and sports. 

The floor was murky coloured and looked dirty. The tour guide surprised us by pouring a bit of water onto the ground to show us that these were the original tiles from many years ago and that it is made of colourful marble.
The colour of the marble used for construction tells historians which era it was built in because it directly linked them to the city that was conquered by Rome. So interesting. 
Domitian Flavian was known to be a tyrant of a ruler. He was paranoid all the time after learning that he would be assassinated and dead by noon. Everyday around noon, he would get paranoid and keep asking his servants the time. When it was close to noon, he would lock himself up in safety. He even had like mirrors installed all round hsi courtyard so that he could spot his assassinator. He was a much hated person, the servants started lying to him about the time because they were sick of him worrying about his death. Unknown to him one day, they lied to him about the time and then he was assassinated thinking it was still some time before the dreaded 12noon. This happened in 96 AD and it was the result of a palace conspiracy.
Just a little story that was shared with us by our tour guide.

That tall, tall lonely pillar shows us how tall the building used to be. It was mighty tall! Time let wind blow sand over the lands for many years and what I was standing on in the above picture was actually 4 floors (I think) from the bottom already. It was amazing.
That’s not the dungeon. It was what, 3rd floor, centuries ago!

Look at that. Just look at that! I didn’t go down any steps from the picture I took of the tall lonely pillar above. This, I bet, is just a tiny portion of the plentiful secrets buried deep where romans walk.
Only in Rome, can you find a colourful, happy looking fruit stall right in the midst of ruins! Frutta Fresca – Fresh Food.

We climbed to the top and found a beautiful spot that overlooks the whole Roman forum. The Roman Forum (Foro Romano) lies in a small valley just between the Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Hill in Rome Italy. It originally was a marsh, but the Romans drained the area and turned it into a center of political and social activity. The Forum was the marketplace of Rome and also the business district and civic center. It was expanded to include temples, a senate house and law courts. When the Roman Empire fell, the Forum became forgotten, buried and was used as a cattle pasture during the Middle Ages. Visitors to the Forum Romanum will see many ancient buildings and ruins that date back two thousand years. This Forum district of Rome is easily accessible by either city bus or metro service (Colosseo station)
What’s to come is damn bloody amazing.
The three circular “holes” in the picture above belongs to the Basilica of Maxentius. The “holes” design is called a “vault” to be exact. Construction on this huge basilica begun around 313 AD. It was the last structure built in the city which shows the magnificence of Ancient Rome. The basilica was used as Rome’s public law courts. It is an enormous structure that was begun by Maxentius and was completed by Constantine. Part of the structure which faces the Forum has been restored. This structure inspired the plans for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
At the top left hand corner you see a very cute, monopoly house like structure? That’s the Curia Julia. Julia Ceasar’s Senate House that was built in 29 BC. The original Senate House of Rome was the Curia Hostilia. It is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Tullus Hostilius, in the 7th century BC. It stood at the place where the church of Santi Luca e Martina now stands, or rather, ten meters below it. Amazing isn’t it?!

At the bottom of the image you see 2 green “ponds” in the middle of a green fiel
d – there lies the House of the Vestals. It is the home to Rome’s female priests. It is a large complex containig a retangular courtyard with 3 ponds.

These Vestal women were selected from Noble families at the age of 10 and sworn in to serve as priests for 30 years. That also means they must remain as virgins for 30 years and if they break this promise, she and her lover will be beheaded. The white statues on the far side of courtyard are of the Chief Vestals.

Off the middle of the above picture towards the top right, the biggest and most complete building is the Temple of Antoninus Pius and his wife, Faustinae. It is the most well-preserved building in the Roman Forum.

In the 12th century, the temple was converted into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. It was pity when I was there, it didn’t seemed to be open to the public. 
It was such a damn biggggg building. Enormous. Everything in ancient Rome is HUGE.
We take a closer look at how the staircase of this Temple was constructed. The engineering techniques in ancient Rome were already very advanced then.
A building this old, I wonder how it looks like on the inside. 
A pile of ruins – definitely, but the secrets they hold and the stories they tell of 3000 over years ago is priceless.

The few columns you see in the above picture is what is left of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. As many other buildings on the Roman Forum, the temple has suffered destruction, looting and ruin over fifteen centuries. The temple was standing in the fourth century, but nothing is known of its subsequent history, except that in the fifteenth century only three columns were standing. 
The entire forum is about one floor below street level. I wonder what might we discover one more floor lower. More history? 
6.30pm in Rome.
The Temple of Saturn was built around 497 BC and is the oldest of the Roman temples. The huge building that once stood behind the columns was Rome’s state treasury. The Temple of Saturn was essentially a bank where Romans stored their gold bars, coins, jewels and other valuables.
And that concludes today’s post. I hope you enjoyed it! I spent loads of of time on it and learnt heaps myself in the process. =) I heart Rome. 
Have a good weekend people!

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