Italy TravelDomus Transitoria Reopens in Rome

Domus Transitoria Reopens in Rome
Published on Thursday, April 25, 2019 by

For the first time, the public can see how Emperor Nero lived in his first private palace, the Domus Transitoria, which opened this month after a 10-year restoration. The palace has been off-limits for centuries, since it burned down in the Great Fire of Rome.

After a fire destroyed the Domus Transitoria (Transit House) and much of Rome in July of 64 AD, Emperor Nero had a new extravagant palace built, the Domus Aurea (Gold House), on the same site on Palatine Hill. The Domus Aurea was a sprawling complex of lavish gardens, pastures, vineyards, and an artificial lake. The palace’s toilets are perhaps the best-preserved part of the complex, and were used as a communal facility by slaves and builders.

Following Emperor Nero’s death, Emperor Trajan subsequently moved into his predecessor’s former residence, fixing it up to his liking and building the Baths of Trajan on top of it. The ruins of the 2,000-year-old palace are underground, and allowed the emperors to travel unnoticed from Palatine Hill to Esquiline Hill.

During its 10-year renovation, the Domus Transitoria benefited from structural work, a new virtual-reality installation, and two video installations. Visitors can put on a virtual-reality headset to view the palace as it would have been under Nero’s occupancy—inlaid with marble and gems, decorated with gold leaf, and painted with frescoes, which depicted scenes from the Trojan War and inspired Renaissance painters such as Raphael centuries later. Emperor Nero himself would likely have ruled from a marble throne under a shade canopy looking out at several fountains.

“The visitor will experience, both in person and through virtual reality, the emperor’s architectural genius and experimentation in marble and pictorial decorations,” said Alfonsina Russo, the director of the Colosseum archaeological park.

The palace is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays; tickets cost 14€.

By Kathy McCabe


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