Virtual ruins to rebuild the palace of Nerón

It was the fifteenth century when a man who walked distractedly through Rome fell into a hole. He broke a leg but "made up": he had discovered an old palace of Nero that was in ruins and in which there were dozens of impressive frescoes.

The voice spread and artists from all over Italy approached to contemplate such a wonder. Such was its importance that served as inspiration for many Renaissance artists. He created his own pictorial style, the grotesque, and later an adjective, grotesque.

Rafael Sanzio was one of the artists who was amazed and influenced by the palace of Nerón. Although he described the experience as bittersweet. He said the bones and flesh were visible, but he lacked the skin.

The skin of the palace of Nero

Nero Palace Hall

That skin Rafael talked about now we are lucky to be able to contemplate. Not because it has been rebuilt or restored, but for something much more modern: the videomapping. Through a helmet that visitors are placed you see what one day that palace was.

The grotto becomes reality and the palace is again a palace. In addition, images of the ancient splendor of that residence are projected on the ruins and what life could be there is drawn.

It is a real immersion in the Domus Aurea original. And if it was not enough, the visit is guided by an archaeologist, which allows us to get even closer to the original structure.

"Now I can finally start living as a human being."

-Nero's phrase when moving to his palace-

A little history: the damnatio memoriae

Nero Palace Hall

With this term the condemnation imposed by the Empire on the memory of people who had had especially despicable behaviors was known. The conviction was to eliminate all memories that remains of that person after his death.

Something very different didn't happen with Nero, since he was enmity with the Senate and was accused (some believe unfairly) of burning Rome. When he died, all memories disappeared.

His name was erased from coins and monuments and his great work was buried: the Domus Aurea, which today is about 10 meters underground. The Colosseum covered the artificial lake of its gardens.

There was more. They stole the name of the statue that presided over the residence, the Colossus of Nero, which was torn down. And the halls were pillaged and buried under the thermal baths of Trajan. Definitely, every effort was made to make Nero's figure disappear from Roman memory.

Y oblivion was achieved, at least until the Renaissance, when a man broke his leg and found his remains. This may be the explanation why Nerón's huge house, one of the most impressive of the time, does not enjoy the importance, fame and recognition it deserves.

The project to see the ruins of the palace

Octagonal room

This is a project developed by the Italian Ministry of Culture and promoted by the COOP Cultura Foundation. It has cost about 300,000 euros, and meets three requirements: guarantee the viewer's immersion in the visit, historical accuracy and the least possible impact of tourism on the building.

This initiative is included in a much more ambitious, if possible: the update of the main archaeological ruins of Rome. It started in 2014 with the projections and the videomapping in the Augusto Forum (although only in the summer months). Later they were those of César and Trajano.

Visit the Domus Aurea

If you want to know the Domus Aurea during your visit to the Italian capital, write down these details:

  • The Domus Aurea It is located in Via della Domus Aurea, right next to the well-known and obligatory Colosseum.
  • You can only visit it with a guided tour and previously you have had to reserve it. You can only do it on weekends.
  • The visit lasts approximately 75 minutes.
  • Admission costs 18 euros. Children who have not completed 2 euros are free. Those between 2 and 6 must pay 1.60 euros.
  • The place is especially wet, so it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and that do not slip, as well as windbreakers or raincoats.

You already know, if you want to live it more than seeing the history of Rome, this visit allows you to go back in time and admire the palace of Nero in all its splendor.