Immediately after the fire of 64 A.D., which destroyed the greater part of the centre of Rome, Emperor Nero had a new residence built, much larger and more luxurious than the one he had on the Palatine Hill. It had walls sheathed by marble and vaults decorated with gold, ivory and gemstones, so to earn the name of Domus Aurea (Golden House).

400px-Domus_aurea_05The huge complex – originally covered 80 hectares – was designed as a place of entertainment, with over 300 rooms, vineyards, pastures and woods, and even an artificial lake, as well as treasures looted from cities of the Orient, precious ornaments, statues and fountains. One of the most imposing ornament was an enormous statue of Emperor Nero himself in the robes of the Sun God (known as “The Colossus”).

After Nero’s suicide, few years later, his successors tried to eliminate every trace of the Domus: the rooms were despoiled of gold and ornaments, and filled with earth up to the vaults. Upon the remains of the Palace, the Baths of Titus and Trajan, and the Colosseum were built, hiding underground for centuries the beauties of the Domus Aurea.

Domus Aurea Project: Visit to the Worksite.

DomusaureaThe site is actually closed because of safety concerns, but works for the consolidation and restoration, and for the rehabilitation of the area above the Domus Aurea, are still in progress.

The Domus Aurea worksite will be accessible on Saturdays and Sundays till December 27th 2015, from 9 am to 5 pm (last admission 3:45 pm), only by guided tours, 25 persons at a time. Reservation is mandatory.

  • The site is and will be closed to the public – also the days of visit.
  • Guided tours are available in Italian, English and Spanish, at different hours.
  • The site is partially accessible with wheelchair.
  • Is recommend the use of comfortable shoes and jackets.
  • The visit rate is € 10.00 per person + € 2.00 for the reservation fee.

The Domus Aurea is one of the State-run sites that will be free on the first Sunday of the month (Domenica al museo – Sunday at the museum).

For further info on the tours and reservations, visit the official site.

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