Domus Aurea - Nero's Golden House

Overview

  • Throughout the tour, you will be guided by an expert in History or Art history, Archeology or Architecture, who will help you to discover our Rome.
  • You can choose the language you prefer...we have 5 different languages available!
  • Tour departs from Domus Aurea.
  • It is a 2 hours long tour with a private guide inside the Borghese Museum and gallery (one extra hour might be added without extra cost to visit the park if weather conditions allow it).
  • Tour is available from Tuesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00, each hour
  • Tour must be reserved with 2 weeks in advance

Domus Aurea

After the famous fire of 64 AD, in which Nero's house, the Domus Transitoria, was destroyed, he ordered the construction of the most fantastic imperial residence ever built in Rome. Nero used huge areas of central Rome for this project, named Domus Aurea or Golden House. The complex is constructed on the Esquiline Hill and eventually spread over a quarter of the city, covering the Coelian and Palatine hills too.

Over a surface of 100 hectares, Nero costructed porches, palaces, pavilions, baths (fed by both sea water and sulphurous springs), gardens, pastures, vineyards and forests full of domestic and wild animals. Around the central pond, the architects in charge, Severo and Celere, erected buildings adorned with hundred of statues sacked in Greece and Minor Asia, preceded by a 30 mt statue of the emperor called the Colossus, after which the Colosseum got its name.

Most of the ruins of the Domus Aurea form a nucleus of almost 150 rooms, articulated arounf the octagonal room, the key room of the complex, of almost 400 meters. Mainly constructed in bricks, most of the rooms are covered by vaults from 10 to 11 meters high.

The West wing is characterized by a rectangular garden - court, surrounded by a ionic portico, to which Nero rooms are faced. In this section are located some of the most famous rooms, as the Room of the vault of the Owl, and the "Ninfeo di Ulisse e Polifemo", that takes its name from the tile subject in the center of the vault.

The East wing is focused on the octagonal room and two huge polygonal courts open from it. In this section of the Palace are preserved the Room of the golden vault, the Room of Achile a Sciro, and the Room of Ettore and Andromaca.

The absence of doors, public lavatories, service rooms and heating systems excludes that the house had residential purposes, but for the Emperor's and his hosts' relax, surrounded by beauty and masterpieces.

Rediscovered in the Renaissance, the Domus has been visited by many artists, as Raphael, that believed at first it was some kind of mystical grotta (cave), resulting in the word grotesque, which they used to describe their attempts to imitate this style of painting in their own work.

Today it is possible to visit parts of the Golden House, which have recently been opened under the Trajan's baths. The temperature always hovers at around 10°C and it is almost 100 percent humidity, what makes it necessary to wear a sweater or jacket.

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