1. The territory of Rome in the archaic period

The city of Rome originated from several primitive settlements of latin peoples living in huts at the end of the second millennium B.C. on the high ridges - so-called hills - of the Latium plain that jut unevenly into the Tiber River Valley. The progressive aggregation of these settlements gave rise to the Roman community which was influenced to varying degees by neighbouring populations: Etruscans to the north, Sabines to the east, Samnites and Graeco-Italic peoples to the south.

Roma in epoca arcaica The mythical hills of Rome were not originally as isolated as the term hill and the present conformation of some of them might suggest. They are the ancient eroded spurs of ridges which jut into the Tiber River Valley. Both the Capitoline and Palatine hills, which appear today to stand isolated on the low-lying plain, are none other than the terminal parts of spurs cut off from the main ridges by erosion at a right angle to their axes. The saddles which in the archaic period linked the Capitoline to the Quirinal and the Palatine to the Oppian-Esquiline no longer exist, as they were excavated in ancient Roman times to make way for the Imperial Fora.

The black spot marks the site of the future Villa Aldobrandini, today headquarters of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT).

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