Palatine Hill contains some of the most ancient ruins, compared to the other six hills of Rome. The Hill is said to have been the location of the cave that Remus and Romulus had been found by the she-wolf that mothered them. The Hill was home to many of the Falvian Dynasty’s palaces (hence the name Palatine), and included the Stadium of Domitian, which was the location of many ancient athletic competitions.
To continue the trend of all the monuments that I have waited this long to see, I went to Palatine Hill and the Forum shortly after waking up in the morning. As I was walking there, thinking about how stupid it was to wait this long (with all the tourists, etc.), I think I found some sort of peace in the fact that I could tell myself I’d go see the so-in-so monument tomorrow, or next week, or there’s plenty of time to see it. It had been a sort of relief knowing that I didn’t have to do something just yet, but now that I was actually doing it, I was forced to understand the fact that my time on its way to running dry.
Palatine Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was home to – many homes. The ruins located on top of the hill include a good number of domus’, another small “stadium/amphitheatre,” and a museum. I found walking through the ruins of the homes to be extremely interesting, letting my mind wander and try to imagine what it had been like to live during the time and consider the home your own.
The Forum and Palatine Hill are connected, so I made my way down to the Forum right after. It was absolutely packed. The Forum is a place where you really need a guide or guidebook and a solid chunk of time to try and understand what the ruins are. I walked around rather quickly, dodging the groups of tourists and tours, to check out some of the ruins that we had spoken about in my At Home in Rome course.
I exited out through the Capitoline Hill area, and wandered around through a small wooded area on the opposite side. I had now almost seen everything I wanted to see in Rome!
After eating a quick lunch at the apartment, Timur, Casey, and I decided to take a walk down to San Paolo (St. Paul Outside the Walls). The Basilica of St. Paul is noted as one of the most breathtaking in Rome, aside from St. Peter’s. From the outside, it just looks like a rather large building and the dome itself has been under renovation the majority of our time here. I run past it ALL the time, but for some reason this was the first time I would finally enter into it – a similar situation to the Colosseum.
When you first walk through the gates, a very pleasant looking courtyard greets you with a beautiful golden façade in the back. The doors to the basilica were commemorated in just 2008, the bimillennial of St. Paul’s death. Once you walk in, you immediately know why it is held with such esteem. The cathedral is slightly different than others, but is enormous. Portraits of all the Popes line the outside edge, and the alter contains the sarcophagus of St. Paul himself, along with part of the shackles that had once constricted him. Pretty amazing.
Hundreds of seats were set up for Mass
With the time running down, I had to get in my last ride (considering I lugged my bike over here). Ironically enough, I would double flat… thankfully shortly after I had double backed to head south of our apartment. The rough roads were a little nerve racking to ride on with a rear flat.
Our program was hosting it’s farewell gathering that was in conjunction with an expo of one of the class’ projects. The expo was on their projects that all displayed an aspect of graffiti in the city – great work all around. After, there was a short presentation that included a video that I made recapping my time in Italy – which was actually a contest. I was the winner by default (I was the only one who submitted something) and received a great box of Italian treats – Grazie mille, Arcadia!
After some refreshments and goodbyes, our program officially concluded – a surreal feeling that no one seemed to want to accept. A bunch of the students go together a little later to celebrate our little remaining time together.Day 105, Forum, Italia, Italy, Palatine Hill, Roma, Rome, Thursday