The morning was gray and drizzly when we set out for the Palatine Hill, one of the “Seven Hills of Rome”. To the west, the hill overlooked the ancient Circus Maximus, a chariot racing stadium. Today the Circus Maximus is a park.
The ruins on the Palatine Hill are pretty impressive.
This is a picture from Wikipedia showing ancient Rome in the Imperial Era, 27 BC – 476 AD. Palatine Hill is the area between the Circus and the Coliseum. To the left of the Coliseum you can see the beginning of the Forum, sort of “down-town” ancient Rome.
Palatine Hill was the high rent district of ancient Rome. In fact Palatine is where the word “palace” comes from.
The Flavian Palace had a Stadium Garden enclosed by porticos. It may have looked like this!
Archeologists don’t believe it was a stadium for sports because of the large number of statues (some now in the museum) found here along with the ruins of fountains.
The sun came out and we were treated to this great view of St Peter’s dome.
And a rainbow!
The east side of Palatine Hill overlooks the Forum.
The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine is the large building in the middle of this photo. Before Christianity, Basilicas were used as courthouses, council chambers and meeting halls by Imperial Rome. This one was an awe inspiring government building. After the Fall of Rome, the emerging Christian congregations adopted these large buildings as church sites for their bishops. They copied this design as they built new churches across the western world. What remains of this building is just one of the side aisles. The central nave would have been larger with the arched aisles on either side. It was massive! Do you see those little people in front of the ruins of the aisle?
There was a nice view of the Coliseum from Palatine Hill too.
We walked down from Palatine Hill into the Forum. The Forum, a rectangular area several city blocks large, is a jumble of ruins and archeological digs. The forum/plaza began as a market place and grew to include government buildings and temples. At the south end is the Arch of Titus.
Temple of Vesta (Vestal virgins)
The Arch of Titus and the Temple of Vesta
Looking back at the Titus Arch again.
At the north end of the Forum is the Arch of Severus and the Curia (Senate House). There is a small museum in the Curia.
The Arch of Septimius Severus
This is my favorite picture of the Forum, the Temple of Vesta with the Palatine Hill behind it. The light was just right. Imagine all the brick covered with white marble. It must have been dazzling…
We walked back to the Coliseum and the Arch of Constantine for pictures. It was too late to go in. We’d been here before so we were content to peek through the gates.
There are stone maps along the outside wall of the Basilica. The last one shows the incredible extent of Roman rule before the sun set on the Roman Empire.
That decree from this place in Rome started a family on a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem….
Merry Christmas to my WordPress friends and followers.