The Palatine, once the residence of emperors and aristocrats, is more beautiful than Rome’s historic sites: you can visit the ruins of the house where Augustus is thought to have lived, the Domus Flavia, the Domus augustana, and the private public areas of a luxurious palace built by Domitian.
Legend has it that Romulus founded the city in 753 BC after killing his twin brother Remus in an excess of anger. Archaeological findings cannot prove the truth of the myth, but human settlements dating back to the Early Iron Age around 730 B.C. have been unearthed and remains have been found on the hill.
Being the most central of Rome’s seven hills and being near the Forum, the Palatine was the most exclusive place of residence in the ancient city. Emperor Augustus spent his entire life there and his successors to build a sumptuous residence.
After the collapse of the empire, the area fell into ruin, and churches and fortresses were built on the remains of the Imperial palaces. In the Renaissance, some wealthy families had pleasant gardens built there.
In the 16th century the first private botanical garden in Europe was built by the Farnese family on the Palatine the area was found during excavations and rearranged.
Palatine: Info, tickets and fees
30 St. Gregory Street
You can also visit the Palatine via the Roman Forum.
Line B – Stop “Colosseum”
- Daily 10 am-7:15 pm (last admission 6:15 pm).
- Closed: January 1 and December 25
Also included with these tickets is admission to the nearby ancient sites of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. You can skip the queues and also download a digital guide to learn more about the Roman Forum.
Some details to remember:
- Tickets are valid for two days (including the activation day).
- Re-entry is not possible once you leave the site.
- The Palatine is open from 10:00 am to 7:15 pm. While both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are open from 09:00 to 16:30. Last admission is one hour before closing.
- You should head toward the quieter Via San Gregorio entrance to enter the Palatine.
Roma Tourist Card: cultural tourism card of Rome
To get the most out of your visit to Rome, it is very advantageous to purchase the Roma Tourist Card.
In addition to access to the Palatine, you can visit other famous Roman attractions with the same pass: skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel; a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica; and entry to the Pantheon with an audio guide.
Just select the dates of your stay in Rome and you will receive your tickets directly via Email.
Important ticket information:
- Includes priority access.
- The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican and Sistine Chapel are the included attractions.
- It is a digital pass.
- The Rome Tourist Card has no time limit, can be used and remains valid for the entire stay.
- Booking a time slot works the same way as the previous two tickets.
Palatine: what to see and what to do
The Palatine as it appears today consists for the most part of the remains of the vast complex built in the first century for Domitian, which for three centuries was the imperial palace, formed by the Domus Flavia, the Domus augustana, and a stadium.
During the visit you can admire the remains of fountains, marble floors, stone carvings, columns, stucco and frescoes within the magnificent walls of the Imperial palaces.
This green, pine-shaded hillside offers fantastic views of the Roman Forum, Colosseum, Capitoline Hill, and Circus Maximus.
House of Augustus
Augustus was the first and longest-serving emperor of Rome: he reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD.
Before he became emperor he lived here and then his name was still Octavian.
The house is extremely modest, but the frescoes, executed in 30 B.C., are splendid-they are among the finest Roman expressions of this technique, of similar quality to those at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Shades of red blue and ochre predominate and are rich in Trome d’Oeil effects. There is also a room whose walls create the illusion of a stage, with side doors and a view of a garden.
House of Livia
The House of Livia dates from the 1st century BC and is one of the best preserved on the Palatine.
It is part of the building in which the Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia lived, and compared to the other imperial palaces it is rather modest
Livia’s house, like her husband’s, is also full of wonderful frescoes although these are even more detailed and impressive than those in Augustus’ house.
Domitian, the third emperor of the Flavian dynasty, decided to build a new palace on the Palatine in AD 81.
The public area of the palace was called Domus Flavia, the private area, Domus augustana.
For 300 years it was the main imperial palace.
While visiting the Domus Flavia you can see the basilica, the place where the emperor presided over trials, the aula regia, which was the throne room, and the Lararium, used for official ceremonies.
Domitian had the walls of the courtyard covered with marbles that acted as mirrors, as he feared for his life: that way he could always see what was happening behind him.
Instead, he was murdered in the bedroom probably on the orders of his wife Domitia.
The Domus Augustana was the part of the palace used as the emperor’s private residence. The lower level is closed to the public, but the courtyard with the geometric foundations of a fountain in the center can be admired from above.
The Palatine Stadium
The stadium on the Palatine was built along with Domitian’s palace. It is not known whether it was used as a public stadium, private track for training horses, or as a garden.
The Farnesian gardens are quite modern compared to the rest of the Palatine: they were designed by the noted architect Vignola and built in the 16th century for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese on the ruins of the Palace of Tiberius.
Here, in fact, the Farnese family built the first private botanical gardens in Europe.
Little remains of this garden that was built in the classical style because it has been largely destroyed. What remains overlooks the Roman forum.
The building next to the Domus Augustana houses the Palatine Museum.
This exhibition reconstructs the history of the Palatine through films, three-dimensional models and archaeological finds. You can admire the busts of the imperial family and the marble “Wings of Victory” in the hall dedicated to Augustus.
How to reach the Palatine
The Palatine is located next to the Roman Forum, near the Colosseum and the mountain district.
You can reach the Palatine via the Roman Forum, but the official, and quieter, entrance is on Via di San Gregorio.
Subway: Line B, Colosseum Stop
Buses: 75, 80, 81, 175, 673, 850.
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