Seven Hills of Rome

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Seven Hills of Rome are a group of seven hills that were the original settlements of the ancient city of Rome. The hills were originally settled by small, independent communities that eventually came together to form the city of Rome.

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According to the traditional account the city of Rome was founded on the Palatine Hill by Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE, and that initially the seven hills were separate settlements that gradually came together. As the people on the different hills began to interact and cooperate, the city began to form. They drained the marshy valleys between the hills and turned them into public spaces called "fora". Later, in the fourth century BCE, walls were built to protect all seven hills known as Servian Walls.

In the Book of Revelation, the Whore of Babylon sits on "seven mountains", typically understood by protestants as the seven hills of Rome [see Note 1].

List of the Hills


Aventine Hill
The Aventine Hill (Aventino), located south-east of the city center, was a residential area for the wealthy in ancient Rome and was also home to several important religious sites, including the Temple of Ceres, and the Temple of Diana. The hill was also the site of the plebeian's assembly, which was a political organization for the common people during the Roman Republic. In the Middle Ages, the Aventine Hill was a desirable location for monasteries and convents, and it remains a residential area to this day.


Caelian Hill
The Caelian Hill (Celio) is one of the Seven Hills of Rome and is located south-east of the city center. It was a residential area for the wealthy in ancient Rome and was also home to several important religious sites, such as the Temple of Claudius, the Temple of Cybele and Attis, the Temple of the Flavians, and the Temple of Sancus.

The Caelian Hill (originally known as Mons Querquetulanus) was also an important site for early Christianity in Rome, as it was home to several churches, such as the Church of San Clemente, the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, and the Church of Santa Maria in Domnica. These churches were built over the remains of earlier pagan temples and shrines, and were likely chosen as sites for Christian worship because of their pre-existing religious significance.


Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill (Mons Capitolinus), one of the seven hills of Rome, is the smallest but most important. It holds great significance in terms of politics and religion and is considered the heart of Rome. The hill has two peaks, the higher one being the Arx in the north, and the lower one being Capitolium in the south. The area between the two peaks, known as the Asylum, was used as a sanctuary for refugees in ancient times and is now the location of Piazza del Campidoglio.


Esquiline Hill
The Esquiline Hill (Esquilino) is the largest of the Seven Hills of Rome. Historically, it was used as a burial ground for the less fortunate. It also had a negative reputation among the people of Rome because criminals who were executed on the Esquline were left unburied and their bodies were left exposed to be eaten by birds and beasts. Additionally, garbage from the surrounding areas was dumped on the Esquiline.

The Esquiline Hill, which is made up of three distinct heights (sometimes referred to as separate hills, but they are actually different peaks of the Esquiline, namely, the Cispian, the Oppian and the Fagutal) underwent a significant change in the first century BCE when Maecenas chose the area to create his gardens (Horti Marcenatis). It's also likely that another famous Roman garden, known as the Horti Liciani, was also built in this area. The only remaining evidence of these gardens is a nymphaeum (previously believed to have been the Temple of Minerva Medica). It is also notable for the discovery of a replica of Myron's Discobolus statue during the 18th century CE. Additionally, Nero built his luxurious and excessive Domus Aurea (the "Golden House") on the Esquiline, and later on emperor Trajan built his baths on top of the infamous imperial "Golden House".


Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (Palatino) was a popular choice among wealthy Romans in antiquity due to its central location, clean air, and picturesque views of the city. The hill was adorned with luxurious villas, allowing its residents to enjoy the city's amenities without having to tolerate its noise and pollution. Many notable Romans built grand buildings on the hill, the ruins of which can still be seen today.

The Palatine Hill has a rich mythology, including the story of Romulus and Remus, who are said to have lived in a cave (archaic hut-village) on the hill and were raised by a she-wolf. Archaeologists claim to have discovered the cave, called the Lupercal, beneath the House of Livia, but this theory is widely criticized. Romulus is said to be the founder of Rome after he killed Remus over disagreements about the city's founding. The ruins of the "Hut of Romulus", where Romulus is believed to have lived, can still be viewed on Palatine Hill. While the story of the Hut of Romulus is a myth, the one-room building has been dated back to as early as the eighth century BCe and there is evidence of human settlements on the hill as early as the tenth century BCE.

Another legend from the hill is that of Cacus, a fire-breathing giant who lived in a cave on Palatine. According to the story, Cacus was defeated by the hero Hercules, but his name was given to the steps of Cacus, near the Hut of Romulus.


Quirinal Hill
The Quirinale Hill (Quirinale) is located in the heart of Rome, just above the Trevi Fountain. It features several noteworthy museums, churches, and a terrace with a stunning view. The Quirinale Palace, where the President of Italy resides, is also located on the Quirinale and is a notable and beautiful building that is worth visiting.

It has a long history dating back to ancient Roman times. In the early days, the hill was not heavily populated and was mostly used for agricultural purposes. However, as the city of Rome grew, the Quirinal Hill became more urbanized and developed into a residential area for the wealthy and elite.

During the Renaissance, the Quirinal Hill became a popular location for building grand palaces and gardens. One of the most notable palaces built on the Quirinal Hill was the Palazzo del Quirinale, which was later converted into the official residence of the Pope and then the residence of the King of Italy.

In the nineteenth century CE, the Quirinal Hill was chosen as the location for the presidential palace of the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy. The palace, known as the Quirinal Palace, was built on the site of several previous palaces and remains the official residence of the President of Italy to this day.


Viminal Hill
The Viminal Hill (Viminale), located in the northern part of the city, has a long history dating back to ancient Roman times. The Viminal Hill was not as heavily populated in ancient times as some of the other hills, and it was mostly used for agricultural purposes.

During the medieval period, the Viminal Hill became more urbanized, and it was home to several monasteries, convents, and small churches. In the sixteenth century CE, the area around the hill was transformed by the construction of grand palaces and gardens. Some of the notable palaces built on the Viminal Hill include the Palazzo Barberini and the Palazzo Colonna.

During the nineteenth century CE, the Viminal Hill was chosen as the location for the construction of several public buildings, such as the Viminal Palace, which was the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Viminal Theater, which was one of the most important theatres in Rome at the time.

In the twentieth century CE, the Viminal Hill became more densely populated as a result of urbanization and several residential buildings were constructed in the area. Despite the urban development, the Viminal Hill still retains some of its historic charm and is home to several notable churches and monuments, such as the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, a church built by Michelangelo, and the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, a national monument dedicated to the first king of a united Italy.


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