The history of the Palatine Museum is a turbulent one. The first Palatine Museum was housed in a building dating from the Italian Renaissance period. It was part of the estate of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who bought a large part of the Palatine Hill and built his estate and beautiful gardens on it, some of which can still be admired today. The founder of the first Palatine Museum was Pietro Rosa, a famous Italian archaeologist, but the building that housed the first museum was demolished in 1882 to make room for a road connecting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The collections were moved to the Diocletian's Thermae Museum, which was renamed the National Museum of Rome in 1889.
The current museum was established in the 1930s on the initiative of archaeologist Alfonso Bartoli, head of the Palatine excavations, who transferred the collections from the National Museum of Rome. The outbreak of World War II complicated the fate of the collection. For security reasons, they were moved to the underground of the National Museum of Rome, which refused to return them after the war ended. The case was stuck in the courts for many years.
Today the museum presents exhibitions consisting primarily of finds from the Palatine. The artifacts date from the earliest years of the republic and the later imperial era.
According to legend, the House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill stood on the site of Romulus' hut. The legend most likely served a propaganda function, portraying Augustus as the new founder of Rome. What is indisputably confirmed by archaeologists is that the Palatine was home to the first Roman settlement. The House of Augustus impresses with meticulously reproduced paintings of beautiful colors.
The House of Livia is one of the better preserved on the Palatine. Dating to the 1st century BC, it was once connected to the House of Augustus. Remains of frescoes and mosaics on the floors are preserved in the rooms surrounding the atrium. The house belonged to a wealthy family. Thanks to a name inscription carved on a lead pipe, today we know the name of its inhabitant.