Aventine Hill is the southernmost of Rome's Seven Hills. The Aventine overlooks the Circus Maximus
and is opposite Palatine Hill
, providing some spectacular views of the stadium in the valley below and the ancient Roman palaces of the Palatine directly across the way.
According to Roman mythology, the founding of Rome was decided upon the Aventine, when the twins Romulus and Remus quarrelled over who would found and name the new city and on which hill. This was settled through the divine practice of augury (looking at the birds to interpret the will of the gods); Remus saw fewer birds on the Aventine so Romulus won the fateful game, and Rome was founded on the Palatine.
Roses of Rome
It is assumed that in ancient Rome the hill was either state-owned or for public use, or was gifted to the common people. It was the site of numerous temples, including the Temple to the Aventine Triad Ceres, Liber and Libera, gods of the commoners or plebeians.
Today the hill has transformed into a beautiful residential area, but also is the home of the dignified 5th century Basilica of Santa Sabina - the oldest Basilica in Rome - as well as a stunning rose garden, which displays 800 different types of roses from all over the world. The garden is open to the public with plenty of benches dotted around, and is a truly lovely spot. Try also to find the secret keyhole in the old door to the Priory of the Knights of Malta, through which is a unique view of St. Peter’s
, framed by their garden.