Tourist Guide Rome

The Domus Aurea, the Golden House of Nero

A major attraction of ancient Rome is the ruins of the Domus Aurea – the so called ‘Golden House’. This was once a truly gigantic palace commissioned by the Emperor Nero after his previous imperial palace was destroyed by flames in the great fire of Rome in 64 BC. The newly built palace – the Domus Aurea once included the whole area of the Palatine Hill, the valley in which the Colosseum is now found and the adjacent area. In total the site of the palace complex encompassed an area of more than 80 hectares with an artificial lake at the place where the Colosseum now stands, and a 35m high colossal statue of Nero. After the death of the tyrant the palace fell into disrepair. A smaller part of the site was still occupied for some time until it fell victim to a fire and was thus also abolished. The existing cellars however were filled with debris and were hence excellently preserved.

What is now known as the ‘Domus Aurea’ and what can be seen by tourists, is only a pale shadow of the former glory of this magnificent palace complex. Several of the buildings were said to have been covered with gold on the outside. Today when one walks through the dark corridors and rooms it is difficult to imagine such splendour. In some parts however, one can gain a good impression of the former richness of the surroundings. It isn’t without reason that the Domus Aurea belongs to the most popular attractions of ancient Rome. This precious archaeological monument was almost lost for a second time as in 2005 it was discovered that the remaining rooms and corridors were in danger of collapsing; water penetration had caused some serious damage. As a result, the Domus Aurea had to be closed to the public until further notice to enable essential conservation and restoration work. The good news however is that the Domus Aurea has recently been re-opened and can be visited as normal. The Domus Aurea is easily accessible using public transport. Using the metro – line ‘B’ and alighting at the station Colosseo or by using the bus – routes 60, 75, 85, 87, 117, 186, 571, 810 or 850. The Tram – line 3, station stop Colosseo also leads there.