The oldest of Rome’s fora, the Foro Romano (Roman Forum), started life as a swampy valley that was used for burials. Tradition says it was drained in the early seventh century BC by the Cloaca Maxima (great drain) masterminded by Tarquinius Priscus, in legend the fifth king of Rome. Subsequently the Forum would become the centre of state ceremony, commerce, law and bureaucracy.
Above the Colosseum to the west (and able to be visited on a cumulative ticket with the Foro Romano and the Colosseum) is Rome’s birthplace, the Palatine. While you may not believe the story that Romulus killed his twin brother Remus for crossing the property line he had staked out on the Palatine, archaeological evidence shows that this spot was probably the site of the settlement that would become Rome. Remains have been found of a wall near the Forum area and of primitive huts on the top of the hill dating from the eighth century BC; tradition says one of these latter was Romulus’ home.
Later, the Palatine became the home of the movers and shakers of both the Republic and the Empire as sumptuous palaces were built. The choice of location was understandable: the Palatine overlooks the Foro Romano, yet is a comfortable distance from the disturbances and riff-raff down in the valley.