The Seven Hills of Rome

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I sette colli di Roma
Panorama with Capitoline Hill in Rome and the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II di pfeifferv on Adobe Stock

The Seven Hills of Rome is mythically believed to have been found by the twin sons of Mars, Romulus and Remus, who ended up at the foot of the hill Palatine and originated the city. The other six hills are Quirinal, Esquiline, Viminal, Capitoline, Caelian, and Aventine. Rome is known to be built upon these seven hills and form the heart of Rome. Although the Capitoline is the only distinctive hill today, all the seven hills were once recognizable.

The Quirinal, Esquiline, Viminal, and Caelian hills are truly promontories of ancient volcanic crest. The Aventine, Palatine, and Capitoline hills were separate from the others and there were once swampy gorges between all of the hills and amid the hills and the Tiber River, but were drained in ancient times and the gorges are now packed in with the remains of civilization.

Aventine is the hill where Remus was believed to have chosen to live. Historical times show that it was the home of the plebeians, who constructed a temple to Ceres in the 5th century BC. It also had temples for Libera and Liber.

Caelian is the hill where many of Rome’s elite lived during the Roman Republic.

Capitoline is the hill where the place of many of Rome’s earliest fortress, and was also the hill of Rome’s government. Located on this hill are temples of Juno Moneta, Concord, and Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

Esquiline is the hill where a walled city existed about 700s BCE.

Palatine is the hill of Romulus. During the classical times, this hill was chosen by Rome’s rich and powerful citizens, where walled villages and tombs have been found, and whose villagers where believed to be the foremost to their contemporaries since the 700s BCE. The temple of Magna Mater can also be found on this hill.

Quirinal hill is where the Sabines once lived and built their city; archaeological proof through tombs and walled village excavation supports habitation of this hill since at least 8th century BCE.

Viminal is the smallest of the Seven Hills of Rome, and was the last one to be incorporated inside the walls of Rome.

The Seven Hills of Rome was initially and traditionally occupied by small settlements and was not grouped as a city called “Rome”. The natives of the seven hills started to partake in a series of religious games that began the bonding of the groups together, and thus Rome came into being as the distinct settlements acted as a group.

The presently renowned Vatican Hill is situated northwest of the Tiber and is not one of the Seven Hills of Rome; same with the Janiculum to the west, and the Pincian Hill to the north, are not reckoned among the traditional seven hills.

Currently, of the Seven Hills of Rome, five are populated with buildings, parks, and monuments, namely Caelian, Aventine, Viminal, Esquiline, and Quirinal. Capitoline how hosts the metropolis of Rome, and Palatine is an archaeological vicinity.


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