After eighteen years the path along the slopes of the Palatine descending towards the Circus Maximus is reopening. A walk through greenery spanning more than 1500 years of history and almost one kilometer long .
The Archaeological Park of the Colosseum further increases the spaces open to visitors in the archaeological precinct, regenerating a highly symbolic itinerary: the hillside where Romulus founded the city in 753 BC and where, even earlier, according to the myth, the she-wolf suckled the twins.
Along the way you will pass the imperial residences, from the House of Augustus to the Severan complex of the 3rd century AD. And it is precisely the mighty arches of the Severan palace that strongly mark the urban landscape of the capital and characterize the profile of the southern slopes of the Palatine. Later, in the Renaissance, the gardens known as the Horti Farnesiani extended to this point. A particularly representative place in ancient times, according to the Virgilian legend relating how Aeneas, after escaping from Troy, crossed these slopes to climb the hill and be welcomed by the aging King Evander. On the highest point stood the Temple of the Magna Mater (the Great Mother), today marked by imposing holm oaks.
The itinerary, now reopened, winds through an utterly fascinating natural landscape.
Acanthus bushes, their serrated leaves reproduced on the Corinthian capitals of the monuments, the broom shrubs dotting the hillside, the climbing dog roses, mallow, rosemary and mint, emanating their scents, and capers today, as in the distant part, all line the path shaded by pines and cypresses. The recreation areas with their amenities are ideal for resting in glades offering striking views.
Myth, history and nature accompany the visitor along a path that finally unites the valley of the Roman Forum with the outermost front of the Palatine: the Murcia Valley separating it from the Aventine. The route takes a broad circuit inside the Park, as well as restoring the historical character of the green areas. The landscape is an integral and characteristic part of the whole archaeological area. And for the first time, the focus us not only on the trees but also the shrubs and herbaceous plants.
This initiative is part of the plan of progressive openings initiated by the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum since its inauguration last January by the Director Alfonsina Russo, with organizational and promotional support provided by Electa, the concession-holder for valorisation services.
The reopening of the Farnese Aviaries has taken place in recent months, followed by the establishment of the S.U.P.E.R. ticket, which allows visits to a series of monuments of particular importance, which had been closed for some time. “Our great commitment the regeneration of the landscape along the southern slopes of the Palatine,” explains Alfonsina Russo, “marks an important further step towards the total return to public use of the central archaeological area in the heart of Rome.”
With this project, the Palatine restores to the public that fascination that, already in the 1950s, had bewitched Albert Camus, as well as other notable intellectuals.
His words are the most exciting invitation to a visit: “It is in this way that Rome weighs, but with a light and sensitive weight, you carry it on your heart like a body of fountains, gardens and domes, you can breathe under it, a little oppressed but strangely happy.... and then that marvelous hill of the Palatine, whose silence nothing spoils, peace, a world always nascent and perfect. I began to find myself again...”
A guide to the itinerary is published by Electa for the occasion with useful guide maps and texts explaining the archaeological monuments in the various sections. Further insights are devoted to the botany of the hill explored in historical terms.