Monday, September 18, 2006

Rome Part IV - Il Colle Palatino

I signed up for an English guided tour of the Palatine Hill late in the afternoon. I think we had about ten people in our group. The Palatine is the most central of the seven hills of Rome, and is located in the area between the Forum and the Circus Maximus. You may have noticed how nice the weather was in the Colosseum photos, and how it started to turn a little cloudy while I was at the Roman Forum. Pay attention to the sky in the following series of photos.
I think this first photo was taken at the western edge of the Palatine. Looking at the map, I am guessing it is a view over Clivus Victoriae...a clivus was a street climbing a hill, in this case the Capitoline Hill, situated to the right of the view in the photo.
Here are some of the people in our tour group. The building to the right is a recent addition to the area from the last few centuries or so. It was not around in Ancient Rome. I did not go in, but I think it is the bookshop.
This is where things started to get a little scary. The clouds started to move into a spiral pattern, the sort of thing you might see in a movie like Twister. You can perhaps make out the spiral in this photo. A storm was coming. We weren't about to hang around to see if the spiral would reach the ground. We moved on with the tour...quickly.
This is a view of the atrium in the Domitian Palace. Apparently the curved shapes in the central square were low walls in a type of Amazonian themed room.
Below is a view of the once-famous Circus Maximus, or Great Circle. Now it is really a shadow of its former self. It was more elongated than circular, with two very long sides and two very short sides. These days, it's really just empty space. But back in its heyday, it would have accommodated a large portion of the population of Rome, and Domitian would have had an excellent view of proceedings, much like this one.
This is a view of what the map says is the Hippodrome, however that name seems unfamiliar from my journey. I think it was also another palace. There is much debate over the oval shaped construction - you can see part of it in the extreme lower right of the photo. Nobody seems to be able to agree on its purpose.
The last two photos in this set are of the Farnesi gardens. By this time, it was raining heavily, and the tour had ended prematurely. I dashed around to some of the remaining places on the Hill to grab a few last-minute snaps before I got too soaked. The first photo is of a fountain, and the other is of some of the hedges in the gardens. If you were to continue moving forward in the photo, you would come to a sort of small cliff, overlooking the Roman Forum.