What comes to mind when Emperor Nero is mentioned? Of course, fiddling while Rome burns. Well there was huge fire in 64 AD during his reign, but I don’t think it has been proven that he set the great fire. But he did benefit from the aftermath. The site is just near the Colosseum, prime location in ancient Rome. After the fire and the ruins of the aristocratic dwellings on the slope of the Palatine Hill were cleared away, Nero began building his dream house on a huge site. It was a large landscaped portico villa which you saw in the model above.
After Nero’s suicide in 68 AD subsequent emperors were embarrassed by his stories and slowly the Domus Aurea became covered by other buildings. It was rediscovered in the 15th C. My architect was thrilled to go on a more or less private tour in 1999 before it was opened to the public. I remember the students being so excited as they had studied this ancient building in school. It was opened in 2007, closed in 2008 and there was a partial collapse in 2010. But if you are in Rome, it is possible to tour it now. The one thing the students especially wanted to see was the rotating banquet table. This circular room rotated to replicate the earth’s rotation. This was built in ancient Rome. . . . . . imagine.
Enjoy the images from the inside ruins of the Domus Aurea. The gold and marble are long gone ,but you will get a glimpse into the lifestyle of this infamous man. Adjectives that will come to mind are:lavish, depraved, wealth, opulence , luxurious, excessive, extravagant, yet historically significant.
It is amazing that in Rome, which has been excavated and visited by millions for years has discovered more ruins after thousands of years. I do wonder what is left to unearth?
Suetonius, the historian, claims this of Nero and the Domus Aurea: