The whole of Palatine Hill could be considered an open-air museum, with its remains of palaces and villas dating from the Roman Empire. Within this area, however, there is also a dedicated Palatine Museum (Museo Palatino) where you can see the wealth of ancient Roman artifacts unearthed from the hillside over decades of excavation.
The archaeological remains located on Rome’s Palatine Hill are among the most fascinating in Italy, but the treasures recovered during excavations here are kept inside the Palatine Museum. This hilltop museum is home to a collection of artifacts, sculptures, frescoes, and mosaics dating from long before the city of Rome was officially founded to the golden age of the Palatine Hill in the first and second centuries. Also on display is an interesting reconstruction of the huts where Romulus, founder of Rome, and his brother Remus lived.
To best understand the archaeological ruins on Palatine Hill and the artifacts inside the museum, book a private tour led by an expert guide that includes the area’s most important imperial palaces—Emperor Domitian’s Domus Flavia, the House of Augustus, the Casa di Livia, and the Domus Augustana—and the Palatine Museum. You can combine many Palatine Hill and Museum tours with stops at the nearby Roman Forum and Colosseum, with a single ticket for access to all three sites.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Palatine Hill and the Palatine Museum are especially interesting for Roman history buffs.
- Older kids can also enjoy Ancient Rome tours of the Forum and Palatine Hill, especially when accompanied by an engaging guide.
- The site offers great views over the Roman Forum, so be sure to bring your camera.
- There is a lot of ground to cover in both the archaeological site and museum, so wear comfortable shoes.
- Large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the Palatine Hill site or museum.
- The site is not recommended for wheelchairs or strollers due to the rough terrain, but the museum is accessible.
How to Get There
The Palatine Museum is located on Palatine Hill just above the Roman Forum, with entrance from Via di San Gregorio. The nearest metro stop is Colosseo along line B.
When to Get There
Most of the archaeological ruins on Palatine Hill are outdoors, so it’s best to visit on a clear day. The museum collections are indoors, but you should visit both the park and museum in one go.
History of the Palatino Museum
The museum was first opened in the 1930s by the Italian archaeologist Alfonso Bartoli, who gathered artifacts found in the surrounding excavation site in this former 19th-century convent. After a long closure after World War II, the museum was renovated and reopened in the late 1960s.