The Esquiline, in the foreground on the picture, is one the seven hills of Rome. It appeared as a plateau with three small peaks, the Oppius, the Fagutalis and the Cispius. Before the Empire,this area was covered by the cemetary of the poors and had a bad reputation. Later Męcenas let build there a splendid villa with gardens. By the end of the Empire, the hill was almost completely built. The Viminale was a kind of “bulge” between the Esquiline at the bottom of the picture, and the Quirinal at the top of the picture. It was mainly a living area with insulę (type of rented houses that formed a large majority of houses of Rome, since 96% of the buildings appeared to be of this kind).

The Insula is found in every part of the city. Over-crowded streets are packed with people buying or selling. The ground-floor of the Insula is used as a shop for the craftsmen, whereby the upper floors are used for living. Two large streets went through the hill, the Vicus Patricius, that can be guessed in the middle of the picture, and the Vicus Collis Viminalis. . At the foot of the Esquiline, the popular district of Subura.

On the hill of Esquiline, just behind the Baths of Trajan, you see the monumental Portico of Livia . It was a large contruction, about 120 m long by 95 m. It appeared as a wide rectangular square surrounded by a double portico. Several niches were opened in the walls of the portico. In the centre of the square stood a small rectangular building which looked very much like the Ara Pacis. This could have been the Ara Concordia which the poet Ovid speaks about. In the four corners were probably small fourfoil fountains. Augustus had this portico built in the honour of Livia, his second wife.

The Esquiline means of course the famous palace of Męcenas and its gardens, but also other great domus, which have entered history. The House of Virgil ,(a) a true palace with a vast inside garden, the faēade of which opened onto the great basin of the Baths. Built quite close to the House of Virgil, another domus appears on the picture with its great garden, most probably could it be the private house of Titus .(b)

Close to the basin of the baths, in the region III, a round temple protected by a semi-circular wall (a) dedicated to Minerva Medica that must not be confused with the Licinii Nymphea in the region V, which we shall see further in the chapter “Esquiline East”. A potter’s shop (b) where the remarkable potteries of terra sigillatawere made. The Esquiline had as well several sources and sacred woods (c). On the east side of the wood, a small temple (d) dedicated to the Sylvan God, such as so many could be seen in Rome

We are here in the western part of the Esquiline, between the great baths of Trajan and the region V, more eastwards. The House of Petronius Maximus (a), who was emperor in 455, had a beautiful villa with gardens, a vast inside court and two closed side ones. Enriched after he had been a consul twice and prefect of Rome, he had this great forum (b) built, that carry his name, the Forum of Petronius Maximus. In (c) thetemple of Isis Metellinus, associated to an Egyptian cult. Even if Męcenas offered to Horace a villa near Tibur, it seems that it was in this luxury house (d) that Horace lived when he was in Rome, close to the circles of power, as he was appreciated for his poetic works. The House of Sulpicia, (e) the only Roman poetess whose work is known today.

The Querquetulana Gate (oaks wood) that can be seen in the middle of the picture was a remnant of the old Servian Wall. It is therefore as a reminder of an oak-wood that this gate was named Querquetulana, as it went through the old Servian Wall in the valley between the Oppius and the Cęlius. There remain now only a ruin of the wall and a fairly damaged gate. A Querquetulanus Lares chapel (a) was standing over the gate, close to the Moneta, the workshop where the money was produced (b).

In the centre of the picture the Palace and gardens of Męcenas. was one of the most prestigious domus during the whole Empire. Built on grounds which were before covered with rubbish and old tombs, it changed them into one of the highest peaks of Roman civilisation. Męcenas did even build a tower to better gaze at the town, because it was on one the highest points of Rome. Under Constantine the tower lost its importance because the Esquiline had become an over-crowded district. Męcenas’ palace was of unequalled luxury and splendour, it announced the grandeur of the great Domus and imperial palaces.

It was first in the Forums that people used to do business, but progressively they became places of leisure walks and meetings, then the courts took place there. Shopkeepers were progressively chased out of the forums and had to gather in markets among which Livia’s Market became one of the most important. In the centre of the picture, Livia’s market with its large porticoes, and close to it, the chapel of Bona Dea, Diana Minerva Augusta and Hercules, , as well as a large section of the old Servius Tullius’ Wall. Lower, in the middle of the picture, the place where the old Esquiline gate ( porta Esquilina) stood, replaced later by the Gallian’s Arch. This large market had a shape of an immense rectangular block, on the top of the Esquiline hill, built alongside the Vicus Macellum Livię. It might have survived after the end of the Empire, and its name was still known in the Middle Age. It was Augustus who ordered the construction of this market, giving it his wife’s name Livia. The Livia’s market is the entry gate to the north-eastern region of the Esquiline limit of it being the camp of the prętorian guard.