The Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It is some 40 meters high with views of the Roman Forum on one side, and the Circus Maximus on the other. The site is now a large open-air museum which tourists can visit during the daytime. The entrance can be found near the the Roman Forum. Evidence from archaeological digs demonstrates that the hill was inhabited as long ago as the 10th century BC. The hill has a strong link to Roman mythology. It is believed that on Palatine Hill, the twins Romulus and Remus were found in the Lupercal Cave by a she-wolf who rescued them. Ultimately, this is where Romulus decided to build the city. Many important Romans of the Republican period (510 BC - c. 44 BC) (i.e Cicero) had their residences there. During the Empire (27 BC - 476 AD) several emperors resided there; in fact parts of the house of Augustus (63 BC - 14AD) can still be seen. On the Palatine Augustus also built a temple to Apollo as a vow for the defeat of Marc Anthony, therefore, it was on this hill that the Roman Empire began. Tiberius (42 BC - 37) is indeed the first one to build an actual palazzo (the Palatine has given Western languages the word Palace) later expanded and remodelled by Nero (37 - 68) and even further by Domitian (51 - 96) whose structure is still almost entirely covering the hill.
The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) was the political , religious and economical centre of Rome during the Republic. It emerged as such in the 7th century BC and maintained this position well into the Imperial period, when it was reduced to a monumental area. It was mostly abandoned at the end of the 4th century. The Forum Romanum is located in a valley between the Capitoline Hill on the west, the Palatine Hill on the south, the Velia on the east and Quirinal Hill and the Esquiline Hill to the north. The Velia was later levelled by Mussolini's whimsical aim to build Via dell'Impero. The oldest and most important structures of the ancient city are located in the forum flanking the Via Sacra, the street where the most important civil and religious ceremonies were held. This can be indicated by the presence of many of the central political, religious and judicial buildings in Rome. The Regia was the residence of the kings, and later of the rex sacrorum and pontifex maximus; the Curia, was the meeting place of the Senate; and the Comitium and the Rostra, where public meetings were held. Major temples and sanctuaries' remains include the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Vesta . In the Forum we also find Triumphal arches and the famous temple dedicated to Julius Caesar. (This was begun in 42 BC after the senate deified Julius Caesar posthumously and it was dedicated by Augustus in 29bc after the famous battle of Actium. The temple rose on the original funeral pyre where his adoptive father had been cremated.) Commercial, judicial and later imperial connected cerimonies took place in the remaining basilicas: the Basilica Aemilia , Basilica Julia and the Basilica of Maxentius. Due to the political importance of the area there were also numerous honorary monuments but today, all of this requires a certain amount of imagination or better a guided tour to picture the Forum in its former glory, as the ravages of history have not been kind.