“Ceterum Nero usus est patriae ruinis exstruxitque domum, in qua haud proinde gemmae et aurum miraculo essent, solita pridem et luxu vulgata, quam arva et stagna et in modum solitudinem hinc silvae, inde aperta spatia et prospetus, magistris et machinatoribus Severo et Celere, quibus ingenium et audacia erat etiam, quae natura denegavisset, per artem temptare et viribus principis inludere”. (Tacito, Annales XV, 42)
“Nero meanwhile availed himself of his country's desolation, and erected a mansion in which the jewels and gold, long familiar objects, quite vulgarised by our extravagance, were not so marvellous as the fields and lakes, with woods on one side to resemble a wilderness, and, on the other, open spaces and extensive views. The directors and contrivers of the work were Severus and Celer, who had the genius and the audacity to attempt by art even what nature had refused, and to fool away an emperor's resources”.
The Roman historian Tacitus described the splendour of the new extraordinary residence of the emperor Nero (54-68 AD), the Domus Aurea, highlighting its most innovative architectural aspects: the detailed interior spaces, such as the richly frescoed rooms with architectural and mythological motifs, coexisted in perfect harmony with the exteriors embellished with arcades, courtyards and fountains.
The Domus Aurea was built in just four years on the ruins of the Domus Transitoria destroyed by the 64 AD fire, on a vast territory between the Esquiline and Palatine Hills and was part of the ambitious urban renewal project desired by the emperor.
Waiting for the completion of the restoration, the Domus Aurea, thanks to multimedia technology, finds that pomp and attention to detail that Tacitus had already made immortal.
A real journey through time which allows the public to immerse themselves in the 1st century AD palace of Nero and to admire the Domus Aurea with its original environments, the portico, the rich rooms, the garden and the view of the Palatine Hill, through the use of latest generation multimedia systems, such as video-mapping on large surfaces, a site-specific project of augmented reality, video narrative and virtual reality.
Domus Aurea Experience starts from the gallery at the entrance of the building: 3D reconstructed images project the history of the Domus on its brick walls: from Nero's times to the modern era.
The itinerary continues towards the Nymphaeum of Ulysses and Polyphemus, the rooms buried in the Trajan era, the "golden vault hall", where are computerized stations and biocular viewers that allow the visitor to relive the Rome of the 1st century AD, stroll in the rooms of the building, admire the stuccos, the purple surfaces, the details in gold and the barrel vaults and, even, observe closely the decorative details placed at a height of about 12 meters.
Continuing in this temporal journey, visitors will be able to walk in the great cryptoporticus with its splendid colonnades surrounded by gardens, fountains, swimming pools and terraces overlooking the Colosseum valley, enjoy, like Nerone, the splendid view of the landscape, among the gurgling water of the fountains, women with long peplos, majestic colonnades, lightshows and flights of birds, tricliniums and fruit baskets.
The pentagonal courtyard leads to a series of rooms decorated with spectacular paintings: the Sala di Achille in Sciro, the great Octagonal Hall and the Hall of Hector and Andromache.
The west wing of the monument closes the experience with the Hall of the Red Vault, the Hall of the Yellow Vault, where Pinturicchio left his signature, and the Hall of the Vault of the Owls.
The path, for groups of up to 25 people, lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes and is divided into 12 stages.
The scientific enhancement project is promoted by the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo with Electa.
The Domus Aurea worksite is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
The site is accessible only by guided tour with reservation required.