About Palace of Septimius Severus
The Palace of Septimius Severus on the Palatine Hill was an extension of the Domus Augustana and was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus (193 – 211 AD).
The Palatine Hill was closely linked with the foundation of ancient Rome and housed some of its most lavish and important buildings, including the homes and palaces of the Imperial family.
Overlooking the Circus Maximus, the remains of the Palace of Septimius Severus are some of the most impressive found on the Palatine Hill.
History of Palace of Septimius Severus
Severus was the first Roman emperor from Africa. He would change the nature of Rome forever, creating a more militaristic government and adopting a more autocratic power style.
He came to power after a period of civil war, so attempted to establish the legitimacy of his claim and secure his authority by fostering an image of stability, harmony, and a desire to restore the prestige of the Roman state.
Part of this campaign of renewal was through orchestrating a programme of new buildings, extensive reconstruction, and renovation.
He built a palace on the southern side of the Palatine Hill, which is considered to be the site where Rome was born, and houses some of Rome’s most ancient and important sites that date from that part of its history.
The palace was built during the second century CE, and would have been finished with marble and plaster, which would have impressed Septimus’ fellow north Africans as they entered the city on the Via Appia.
Palace of Septimius Severus Today
Today, little remains of the palace except the lofty arches. The marble cladding and wall plaster have been removed long ago leaving behind a well-preserved bare brick skeleton, which, with a little imagination, gives a sense of the former grandeur that the palace would have commanded.
In the same area, visitors can enjoy Septimius Severus’ ‘Septizodium’, a three-storey nymphaeum-façade with columns and fountains on several levels which served as a scenic entrance to the palace. Along with his triumphal arch in the Roman Forum, this is the best known monument of Septimius Severus’ reign.
Getting to Palace of Septimius Severus
The palace is reachable from the centre of Rome in around 13 minutes by car along the Via del Quirinale, though parking might be tricky at the other end. There is a regular schedule of buses which depart every 3 minutes, and take around 20 minutes to reach Palatine Hill. By foot, it takes around 30 minutes by foot along the Via Cavour road.