The Hills of Rome

The city of Rome is both uplifted and cradled within its seven famous hills – the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, Viminal, while other hills, such as the Vatican, Pincian, Janinculum, mark its outer boundaries. Prepare for your next trip to this glorious city with a tour of its districts hill by hill - and savour their unusual mysteries and delights – archaeological, cultural, gastronomic, sacred and profane.


  • Online


  • Alta Macadam, A.B., 2010, Blue Guide, Rome, Somerset
  • Cornell, T.J., 1995, The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c.1000-264BC), London
  • Heiken, G., Funiciello, R., and de Rita, D., 2005, The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City, Princeton – an interesting account of how the geology of Rome has helped to form the city over time – but no maps! You would be advised to make sure you have a good map of the city as a companion guide to this book.
  • Richardson, L., 1992, A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London
  • Spencer, D., 2007, The Sites of Rome: Time, Space and Memory, Oxford
  • Vout, C., 2012, The Hills of Rome: Signature of an Eternal City, Cambridge and New York


Following the map of Rome we will ascend each of her hills in a spiral order beginning with the Palatine, then the Aventine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian, looking at each in turn, their history, churches, ancient sites, vistas and features of interest - ancient and modern. The Janiculum, Pincian and Vatican hills will also be visited. As well as being a cultural tour, this course will provide insights into some of Rome’s café and restaurant life, interesting shops, markets, galleries and museums – and the way in which the modern city is superimposed on its ancient ancestor. Each week we will discuss:

  • An Introduction to the history and mythology of Rome’s Hills - The Palatine
  • The Aventine
  • The Caelian
  • The Oppian and Esquiline
  • The Viminal
  • The Quirinal
  • The Capitoline
  • The Vatican, Janiculum and Pincian


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Prepare for any trip to Rome by giving students orientation to this wonderful city.
  2. Gain a diverse and intriguing insight into the city’s historical, cultural and social life
  3. Understand the way in which a city is formed by its geology, and how the modern city overlies a deep and diverse ancient past.
  4. Have an introduction to useful organisations which will enhance visiting Rome.

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