Rome the 7 hills
Only one city has for more than 2000 years been known as the city on seven hills. That city is Rome.
It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined.
Most travelers know the 7 hills of Rome and part of the history of Rome, but here is a little more information, so when you do visit, you can imagine as you wander the maze of piazzas, and how it may have been in the beginning of the city of Rome.
Rome’s history spans more than two and half thousand years since its legendary founding’s in 753 BC. Rome also is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe.
Poets and writers alike have named it the Eternal City, as it will live forever.
Tradition holds that the seven hills were first occupied by small settlements and not grouped or recognized as a city called Rome. The denizens of the seven hills began to participate in a series of religious games, which started to bond the groups. The city of Rome came into being as these separate settlements acted as a group, draining the marshy valleys between them and turning them into markets (fora in Latin). Later, the seven hills were protected through the Servian Walls.
The Servian Wall was constructed as a defensive barrier around the city in the early 4th century it is immense, with a dozen or more gates.
The Tiber River, crucial to the water transport into ancient Rome, was trapped on the west by the fault blocks of the Janiculum, and Vatican hills. The Tiber’s east banks are volcanic plateaus, composed of deposits from the explosive eruptions of the Alban hills, In addition to forcing the Tiber toward the west, these deposits make up the Seven Hills of Rome.
In the early days the hills, were really hills, with time and change and continuous building they tended to blend into one another.
The marshes where a source of many problems, the flooding and run off of the Tiber River was the cause of sickness, disease and separation. Mostly malaria, which we all know is caused by mosquitoes, but did we all know that malaria is an Italian word meaning bad air? Malaria The separation was the reason that the hills were dug out and flattened as a continuous urban development the marshes were drained and filled in. Each hill has its story but one is much different than the others.
Testaccio: this curious hill was completely man-made entirely of carefully laid out broken pieces of amphora, these were called Amphorae, ceramic containers used for commerce. I found this very interesting and this should give you a pretty good idea of the extent of which man has come to alter the original geography.
Here is a list of the hills, each filled with rich and complicated ancient history, geography and engineering. But what I am sharing with you is what the actual hills are as of today.
Aventine Hill: Aventine is today’s most upscale residential area, covered with villas and gardens a must see for the avid gardener and lover of architecture.
Caelian Hill: Currently is the residence of the President of the Italian Republic, before the abolition of the Italian monarchy in 1946 it was the residence of the Kings of Italy and before 1871 it was the residence of the Pope.
Capitoline: The Capitoline hill held the seat of government the capitol, whose name is commemorated in every capital city in the world, as a well as in government buildings such as the the capitol in Washington DC.
The plateau on the northern slope of the Capitoline above the piazza Venezia is the Vittorio Emanuele monument, built between 1885 and 1911 to honor the first King of the unified Italy.
The plateau is topped with the Piazza del Campidoglio via the ramp designed by Michelangelo.
The Cordonata in 1559. The buildings around three sides of the Campidoglio are: The Palazzo Sertatario, Romes city hall, The Plazzo Die Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo, both are Museums.
Esquiline: This is the highest and largest of the 7 hills of Rome, and was one of the most fashionable residential quarters of Rome. It was the hill that Nero built a huge palace on the Dormus Aurea, the “Golden House” the façade was said to be coated in solid gold.
There was hot and cold running water and baths.( something not common) It was said that his dining room was set up to shower flowers and perfumes on its guests. The grounds covered a full square mile, with wild game and gorgeous vineyards. Only a few years later this was destroyed and the Coliseum was built on top of it. Later Trajan built baths on the top of the rest of the complex; this was forgotten until wall paintings were discovered by Renaissance artists, including Rapheal. This was a great influence of many artists who worked for the Vatican.
Palatine Hill: This hill is the declared the original town of Rome. This was the residence of several emperors,Augustus built his palace, and the Temple to Apollo here, it was beside his Place now the ruins of these massive structures are remaining. This Hill was also the site of the festival of lupercalia. Acorrding to Roman Mythology the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave where Romulus and Remus were found,a she wolf kept they aline. Fustulus found the infants and raised them with his wife as his children. When they were older the boys killed there great uncle who seized the throne from their father, tragically after a violent argument Romulus killed remus, thus founding the city known as Rome, to this day there is ongoing excavations on the Palatine Hill, revealing ancient temples and places. This site is filled with legends and history.
Viminal Hill: The smallest and last to be included inside the walls of Rome. This was the least important of the hills of the city and contained a few monuments of ancient times. Today it is the houses the Teatro Del Opera, and the Termini railway station, also is the home to the Palace of Vinimale, referring to the Minister of the interior.
In the valley which lies between, the imperial and near the Quninmal, this area is known as Suburra, the quarter or area of shops, artisans, markets and sellers. This life filled area of Rome is sometimes wicked and vulgar, busy and very noisy, but interesting!
There is so much more to add to this fully rich and most important area of Italy as it was the base of which most things are derived. The rise and fall of cultures and man, the feeling you have if you can dig beyond the buildings of now and realize the depth of history that lies beneath, this magnificent city. You will have not only a visual adventure in Rome but a spiritual one that will take you to times of old and open your senses to the nature of the Roman culture. Rome is one the most important city in the world. You have to see it and experience it!