Here I am again, back for more Italian adventures ! Shall we ? In my last article, I left you with my visit of the Colosseo, and the view we had from the Palatino, remember ? Well, time to talk about the Palatino now, because there are a lot of things to say about this visit, I assure you (but good ones, don’t worry).
So the Palatino is an amazing experience. But you must be prepared to walk… a lot. In fact, my boyfriend and I did not know that the gardens you can see on the above picture were just a tiny part of the visit, so at first we considered doing it in the end of an afternoon, but then decided that we were too tired and would start our day with this visit the day after. we were so lucky to have done that ! Indeed, when you enter the Palatino, you star by going around a sort of big garden with statues and ruins everywhere. However, the visit then continue and takes you uphill, where there are more ruins to explore, old houses and even a museum !
So the Palatino, or Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city (hence all the ruins everywhere). It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. It is the etymological origin of the word palace.
Now a little bit from Wikipedia (just because it is pretty cool) : According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave, known as the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf Lupa that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus thereafter found the infants, and with his wife Acca Larentia raised the children. When they were older, the boys killed their great-uncle (who seized the throne from their grandfather), and they both decided to build a new city of their own on the banks of the River Tiber. Suddenly, they had a violent argument with each other and in the end Romulus killed his twin brother Remus. This is how “Rome” got its name – from Romulus.
Another legend to occur on the Palatine is Hercules’ defeat of Cacus after the monster had stolen some cattle. Hercules struck Cacus with his characteristic club so hard that it formed a cleft on the southeast corner of the hill, where later a staircase bearing the name of Cacus was constructed.
As you can see – or imagine – the Palatino was amazing, but be prepared and bring good sneakers, water and a hat with you because we personally stayed at least 5 hours there with my boyfriend ! There was so much to see ! After this surprising visit, we were starving (it was around 2:30pm and we only had a light breakfast because we thought we’d be out by noon ! What fools we were !).
So after a good lunch consisting of… you guessed it, pizza al taglio (it means you pay for each slice of pizza you want, and then you have the price by the weight !), we continued our exploration of the city. Next stop : Baths of Caracalla !
The Baths of Caracalla were the second largest Roman public baths built in Rome between AD 212 and 217, during the reigns of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. The baths remained in use until the 6th century when the complex was taken by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War, at which time the hydraulic installations were destroyed. The bath was free and open to the public.
This visit was pretty relaxing because despite the ruins everywhere, there were still big walls giving us some shadows. Also, I’m not really sure why, but we were almost alone in the monument, which gave us an even more amazing experience. You can visit it quite quickly because there is not much to see or do, it is just impressive. We personally stayed longer, and relaxed in the gardens of the public bath.