Running tangential to the Sacred Road, Palatine Hill is notable as being the location of the first settlement established by Romulus. Guess what that settlement later came to be called?
Over time settlements gave way to housing for nobility, and later still imperial palaces. You wouldn’t know any of it though; there’s not a whole lot to see up here. Many of the remaining structures consist of a pillar here, a few cornerstones there– very little in the way of anything truly memorable to see.
It should be noted that the farther into the Palatine you venture, the further you’ll be from any obvious water sources. There were two fountains between the arch and the Forum but we didn’t see any further up Palatine Hill. If you’re visiting in the summer and you’re not a camel, you should bring a bottle and keep it topped off.
Walking around the top of the hill, one of the more obvious sights is the Hippodrome of Domitian.
Near the Hippodrome, there is a small museum at the top of the hill. You will find solace from the sun but not the heat. Despite some neat exhibits and artifacts, the museum has no air conditioning, is crowded and smells like a locker room. These are not conditions conducive to history lessons so we bailed. There is at least a bathroom so if you’re desperate you can drink from the sink.
Before we left, we did our due diligence and checked out the exhibits. Downstairs are some exhibits related to the founding of the Palatine settlement and part of the floor is glass so you can see the excavation work below the building.
Upstairs was much cooler (in both senses of the word) since here is where they kept the statues and busts, and it was less crowded. Art is stupid, but statues are fucking awesome. I was also excited to score a quick point in the “Rick Steves Exotic Erotic Extravaganza” by means of my first decapitated nude.
But then my wife found statues of a cupid getting the bad touch as well as a satyr marveling at his own ass. I don’t know how she finds this stuff. She’s been winning since the minute we got off the plane.
In case it’s not obvious, the “Rick Steves Exotic Erotic Extravaganza” is not endorsed by or affiliated with its namesake. We watched a few episodes of his travel show on PBS and thus the game only makes sense if you take the time to correlate his passion for Europe with the size of his penis (he must need a sherpa to carry it up Everest). Like Calvinball, the scoring is arbitrary and we’re making up the rules as we go.
I’m always amazed at the attention to detail paid when sculpting fabric.
I really like statues. If you like statues too then I recommend stopping by the upper floor of the museum. They have many beautiful sculptures on display, few of which I captured since it was way too hot and stuffy to stick around for long.
The other way to go would be back to the Forum, which is where we ended up refreshing and continuing our journey down the Sacred Road.