Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Domus Aurea-Nero's Golden House

The emperor Nero built an extraordinary palace in Rome after a great fire destroyed many of its neighborhoods in 64 CE. The palace covered nearly 200 acres and was so spacious that the emperor set a 35 meter tall bronze statue of himself in the vestibule. It is from this colossal statue that the Colosseum derives its name, for the emperor Vespasian demolished parts of the palace and in its place erected his own amphitheater near the statue (and redesigned the statue as Apollo). During the Renaissance, amateur explorers and archaeologists found their way into the debris filled underground rooms of what remained of the palace. They found frescoes and mosaics covering the walls and floors which inspired the grotesque motifs of Renaissance decor. You can discover for yourself the power of Nero's artistic inspirations, as several rooms of the palace were opened to the public a few years ago. These rooms are located on the Oppian Hill, across the street from the Colosseum. Reservations are obligatory and can be made by phone or on-line. See the RomaTurismo website for opening hours and details.

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