History goes underground as Nero’s opulent palace reopens after renovation

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History goes underground as Nero’s opulent palace reopens after renovation

Visitors must descend underground to view the rooms and gardens of the residence, covered over the centuries by other buildings and debris.


Journalists walk down the steps leading to the Domus Transitoria, the first imperial palace of Roman Emperor Nero on the Palatine Hill in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
Journalists walk down the steps leading to the Domus Transitoria, the first imperial palace of Roman Emperor Nero on the Palatine Hill in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The first palace built by Rome’s most notorious emperor has reopened to the public after an extensive renovation.

Visitors to Nero’s Domus Transitoria (Transit House) must descend underground to view the rooms and gardens of the residence.

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(Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The site has been covered over the centuries by other buildings and debris.

It opened on Friday after a decade of structural work and renovations.

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(Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Domus Transitoria was criticised even by Nero’s contemporaries for its opulence.

It featured inlaid marble, frescoed walls and ceilings, as well as trimmings of gold and precious gems.

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(Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Built on the Palatine Hill almost 2,000 years ago, it predated the more famous Domus Aurea (Golden Palace).

Alfonsina Russo, general manager of the Colosseum archaeological park, said “Nero wanted an atmosphere that expressed his ideology, that of an absolute ruler, an absolute monarch”.

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Press Association

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