The number seven is significant in Roman culture, not only for the Seven Kings of Rome but also for the Seven Hills of Rome upon which the Eternal City was built. The first was the Palatine Hill, where according to legend, the first King of Rome Romolo founded the city on April 21st 753 BC.
The seven hills of Rome are all located east of the Tiber and all played significant roles in religion, mythology and politics with ancient romans. Over the centuries and the inevitable expansion of the city, new hills have been identified as being historically noteworthy such as the Vatican and Gianicolo Hills, though according to legend and the literary historians Cicerone and Plutarco, the following list of 7 are the originals:
This is one of the 7 founding hills in Rome and is located the farthest south of the city. This hill was a two part hill called the " Aventine" and " smaller aventine" which divided the area between the Tiver river and the valley where Circus Maximus begins. In contrast to the Palantine Hill that housed only noble families, the Aventine housed regular plebeians. During Imperial Rome, large residences and villas for the aristocracy were built, such as those villas for Traiano, Adriano and Vitellio. In addition to these residences, there were also many public buildings that were constructed such as the Decianae Baths and the Caracalla Baths. The Aventine also had a wooded area that became a real place of worship and in a very short time temples were erected for religious service such as the Temple of Diana and theTemple of Minerva, to name a few. The religious influence continued throughout the middle ages when the ancient temples were converted to ancient Roman churches such as Saint Sabina on the Aventine, Saint Saba and Saint Maria of the Priory, which are still present today on the hill.
Also known as Capitoline Hill, is another of the seven hills of Rome located between the Tiber and Roman Forum. There were also several religious temples found on this hill such as the Templa of Giunone, the Temple of Veiove, the Temple of Giove Capitolino (from whom the hill was named) , the Temple of Marte Ultore and the Temple dedicated to Concordia. The architecture of Capitoline Hill has changed over the centuries starting with the reinforcement wall that was built to defend the city against the Gauls in 390 BC. This wall had several doors, one of which opened to connect the Capitoline with the Roman Forum. During the Middle Ages, the architecture of the hilll was completely redesigned according to Michelangelo who created the Campidoglio Square at the top of an elegant staircase, and also the New Palace and the Conservatory Palaces were built, which today hold the Capitoline Museums.
The Palantine Hill, whose name comes from Pale, god of shepards, is one of the oldest sites in Rome. It is located between the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. According to legend, it was here that Rome was founded by the first king Romolo, and it was also here where all great Roman Emperors such asAugustus, Tiberius e Domizian built their palaces. During the Roman Republic, the Palatine played host to a number of religious temples such as the Temple of the Magna Mater and also the Temples of Apollo and Vesta. Today the Palatine is one of the richest and most important archeological sites in Rome.
The Celio or Mons Caelius is the located in the middle of the Esquiline, the Palantine and the Aventine, and its highest point is about the same at the Colosseums. Archeological remains suggest there were various types of ancient housing built here over the centuries among which were the prestigious roman domus, temples and basilicas. On the outer lying area of the hill, there were remains of military bases specifically that of Settimio Severo which in part occupied the area where we now find the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran. Under the orders of Alarico, most of the buildings on the Celio were destroyed to make way for the construction of various religious sites such as the church of Saint Maria in Dominica and the Basilica of Saint Stefano in the Round.
The Hill was annexed by Servio Tullio to Rome, and remains found from the VIII century suggest there was an ancient necropolis in the area. This is the highest and largest of the seven hills and is home to two major neighborhoods, Monti and Esquiline, which are separated by Via Merulana. This ancient Roman road connects the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, two of the 4 papal Basilicas in Rome.
The Quirinale or Collis Quirinalis, is one of the seven hills in Rome, but according to legend, also was one of another group of hills that have all but disappeared. Legend says that on the Quirinale there was a village called Sabini whose inhabitants had erected a small altar for their god, Quirino, for whom the hill was named. Several temples and places of worship have been found throughout the area such as the Temple of Marte and the Sanctuary of Flora. Since the middle ages, many important buildings and churches have been built here such as the Torre delle Milizie, the Domenico and Peter Convents, the church of Saint Andrea al Quirinale which was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the church of Saint Carlo at the 4 Fountains by Borromini, the church of Saint Silvestro al Quirinale and the Consult Palace. In 1730, the Quirinale Palace was built here and since 1948 has been the official residence of the President of the Republic.
The Viminale Hill, which is actually located inside the Monti neighborhood, is the smallest of the seven hills of Rome and got its name from a small plant called vimini that used to grow wild all over the area. Like the Quirinale, this hill was also annexed by Servio Tullio to the city and there were a number of ruins found of ancient and elaborate roman villas. During the reign of Diocletian, large roman baths were built here and in 1561, Michelangelo designed the Basilica of Saint Maria of the Angels on their remains. In Viminale you'll also find the Opera Theatre, the Square of the Republic and the Viminale Palace, which houses the Ministry of the Interior.