The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, Oct 24, 2013 - Science - 264 pages
0 Reviews

From humble beginnings, Rome became perhaps the greatest intercontinental power in the world. Why did this historic city become so much more influential than its neighbor, nearby Latium, which was peopled by more or less the same stock? Over the years, historians, political analysts, and sociologists have discussed this question ad infinitum, without considering one underlying factor that led to the rise of Rome--the geology now hidden by the modern city.

This book demonstrates the important link between the history of Rome and its geologic setting in a lively, fact-filled narrative sure to interest geology and history buffs and travelers alike. The authors point out that Rome possessed many geographic advantages over surrounding areas: proximity to a major river with access to the sea, plateaus for protection, nearby sources of building materials, and most significantly, clean drinking water from springs in the Apennines. Even the resiliency of Rome's architecture and the stability of life on its hills are underscored by the city's geologic framework.

If carried along with a good city map, this book will expand the understanding of travelers who explore the eternal city's streets. Chapters are arranged geographically, based on each of the seven hills, the Tiber floodplain, ancient creeks that dissected the plateau, and ridges that rise above the right bank. As an added bonus, the last chapter consists of three field trips around the center of Rome, which can be enjoyed on foot or by using public transportation.


What people are saying - Write a review

The seven hills of Rome: a geological tour of the eternal city

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Based on the 1995 technical monograph Geologia de Roma from the National Geological Service of Italy, this easy-to-read guidebook successfully explains the geology of Rome within its rich political ... Read full review


A Tourists Introduction to the Geology of Rome
Center of the Western WorldThe Capitoline Campidoglio Hill
Palaces and GardensThe Palatine Palatino Hill
The Aventine Aventino Hill
The Tiber Floodplain Commerce and Tragedy
The Tibers Tributaries in RomeClogged with Humankinds Debris
The Western HeightsJaniculum Vatican and Monte Mario
The Celian Celio Hill
Largest of the Seven HillsThe Esquiline Esquilino
Upper ClassThe Viminal Viminale and Quirinal Quirinale Hills
Field Trips in and around Rome
Further Reading

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Grant Heiken is a past president of the International Association of Volcanology. He is the author or co-author of several professional and general-interest books on geology, including Volcanoes: Crucibles of Change (Princeton). Renato Funiciello is Professor of Geology at the University of Roma Tre and Vice President of the National Institute for Geophysics. Donatella De Rita is Professor of Field Geology and the Geology of Volcanic Areas at the University of Roma Tre.

Bibliographic information