While my friend Dale was visiting from Rome, a dear friend I’d made in Rome, Anna, kindly gave us a fantastic walking tour of the beautiful Palatine and the Aventine Hills of Rome.

Overlooking the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill is where it all began.

An area of majestic ruins and grand views, this is where the mythical she-wolf nursed Romulus and Remus before Romulus killed his brother and founded Rome in 753BC.

Whether it really happened like this is, of course, debatable, although archeologists have unearthered evidence of human habitation dating to the 9th century BC.

As the most central of Rome’s hills – and because it was close to, but above, the riffraff of the Roman Forum – the Palatine was ancient Rome’s poshest neighbourhood, according to Anna.

Aristocrats sought houses here and successive emporers built increasingly opulent palaces.

Augustus was born here and lived all his life in relative austerity, at least compared to the monstrous extravagance of his successors: Tiberius, the Flavians, Septimius Severus and Domitian.

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