Schematic map of Rome showing the seven hills

The seven hills of Rome (Latin: Septem colles/montes Romae, Italian: Sette colli di Roma [ˈsɛtte ˈkɔlli di ˈroːma]) east of the river Tiber form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the city.


The seven hills are:[1]

The Vatican Hill (Latin Collis Vaticanus) lying northwest of the Tiber, the Pincian Hill (Mons Pincius), lying to the north, the Janiculan Hill (Latin Janiculum), lying to the west, and the Sacred Mount (Latin Mons Sacer), lying to the northeast, are not counted among the traditional Seven Hills, being outside the boundaries of the most ancient part of Rome.

Separate also are the seven hills associated with the Septimontium, a proto-urban festival celebrated by the residents of the seven communities associated with the hills or peaks of Rome. These were the Oppius, Palatium, Velia, Fagutal, Cermalus, Caelius, and Cispius.[2] These are sometimes confused with the traditional seven hills.


Tradition holds that Romulus and Remus founded the original city on the Palatine Hill on 21 April 753 BC, and that the seven hills were first occupied by small settlements that were not grouped. The seven hills' denizens began to interact, which began to bond the groups. The city of Rome, thus, came into being as these separate settlements acted as a group, draining the marshy valleys between them and turning them into markets (fora in Latin). Later, in the early 4th century BC, the Servian Walls were constructed to protect the seven hills.[3]

In modern Rome, five of the seven hills—the Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Quirinal, and Viminal Hills—are now the sites of monuments, buildings, and parks. The Capitoline Hill is the location of Rome's city hall, and the Palatine Hill is part of the main archaeological area.

A smaller area was covered by the seven peaks associated with the festival of the Septimontium: the Cispian Hill (Cispius Mons), Oppian Hill (Oppius Mons), and Fagutal Hill (Fagutalis Mons), three spurs of the Esquiline Hill, along with the Palatium and Cermalus, the peaks of the Palatine Hill, the Velian Hill, a ridge joining the Palatine and Oppian Hills, and the Caelian Hill.

Other cities with seven hills

Main article: List of cities claimed to be built on seven hills

Sheffield, Istanbul, Lisbon, Providence and the Massachusetts cities of Worcester,[4] Somerville,[5] and Newton[6] are also said to have been built on seven hills,[7] following the example of Rome.

In the New Testament

In the Book of Revelation, the Whore of Babylon sits on "seven mountains",[8][9] often understood by Christians as the seven hills of Rome and a reference to the pagan Roman Empire. Protestants later associated them with the Catholic Church (as the Pope is patriarch of Rome).[10][11][12][13][14]

In modern literature

In a 2019 interview Lindsey Davis revealed her plan to set a series of books on the seven hills of Rome, now accomplished with the publication of A Capitol Death, seventh in the Flavia Albia series which began with The Ides of April, set on the Aventine Hill.[15]

See also

Other Roman hills


  1. ^ Heiken, Grant; Funiciello, Renato; de Rita, Donatella (24 October 2013). "Chapter 11: Field Trips in and Around Rome". The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City. Princeton University Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780691130385. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  2. ^ Classical Philology. University of Chicago Press. 1906. pp. 71–.
  3. ^ "The Seven Hills of Rome", Italy Magazine, accessed 14 February 2019
  4. ^ Barnes, George. "Like Rome, Worcester has its 7 hills". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Hills of Somerville, Mass". Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  6. ^ Smith, Samuel Francis (1880). History of Newton, Massachusetts : town and city, from its earliest settlement to the present time, 1630-1880. UMass Amherst Libraries. Boston : American Logotype Co.
  7. ^ "İstanbul'un 7 (Yedi) Tepesi". Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  8. ^ Revelation 17:9
  9. ^ The King James Version Bible—the New International Version Bible uses the words "seven hills".
  10. ^ Wall, R. W. (1991). New International Biblical Commentary: Revelation (207). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
  11. ^ Bratcher, R. G., & Hatton, H. (1993). A Handbook on the Revelation to John. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (248). New York: United Bible Societies.
  12. ^ Davis, C. A. (2000). Revelation. The College Press NIV commentary (322). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub.
  13. ^ Mounce, R. H. (1997). "The Book of Revelation." The New International Commentary on the New Testament (315). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
  14. ^ Beckwith, Isbon T. The Apocalypse of John. New York: MacMillan, 1919; reprinted, Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001.
  15. ^ "Lindsey Davis interview: A Capitol Death and the Flavia Albia series". Hodder & Stoughton. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.