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Domus Aurea, Rome

4.2
#36 of 249 in Historic Sites in Rome
Ruin Historic Site
The Domus Aurea was a large landscaped portico villa built by the Emperor Nero in the heart of ancient Rome, after the great fire in A.D. 64 had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Palatine Hill.InformationConstructionBuilt of brick and concrete in the few years between the fire and Nero's suicide in 68, the extensive gold leaf that gave the villa its name was not the only extravagant element of its decor: stuccoed ceilings were faced with semi-precious stones and ivory veneers, while the walls were frescoed, coordinating the decoration into different themes in each major group of rooms. Pliny the Elder watched it being built and mentions it in his Naturalis Historia.Suetonius claims this of Nero and the Domus Aurea: When the edifice was finished in this style and he dedicated it, he deigned to say nothing more in the way of approval than that he was at last beginning to be housed like a human being.Though the Domus Aurea complex covered parts of the slopes of the Palatine, Esquiline and Caelian hills, with a man-made lake in the marshy bottomlands, the estimated size of the Domus Aurea is an approximation, as much of it has not been excavated. Some scholars place it at over 300acre, while others estimate its size to have been under 100acre. Suetonius describes the complex as "ruinously prodigal" as it included groves of trees, pastures with flocks, vineyards and an artificial lake—rus in urbe, "countryside in the city".
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
664 reviews
Google
4.2
  • If you enjoy history and art you will love this tour. The guides are fantastic. The virtual reality experience was the highlight of the tour. Be sure to bring a light jacket as it is quite chilly in t...  more »
  • This guided tour takes you back in time to before the building of the Colosseum. It is raw and authentic. The highlight is a virtual reality presentation of what the complex was like 2000 years ago. U...  more »
  • Vanessa was our rep with Through Eternity Tours. We visited on a hot day and enjoyed the cool, underground temps and the MAGNIFICENT site of Nero's Golden House. The rooftop drinks and snacks we enjoy...  more »
Google
  • An intriguing place given the history behind it (the Emperor Nero is said to have commissioned the building of this "Golden Palace" after the famous fire in Rome in 64AD which he himself has been accused of instigating in order to free up room for the palace). Architecturally supreme and geometrically complex - it is possible that the sunlight coming through the roof may have been incorporated into the design deliberately in order to bathe the entering Emperor in light, like a god, as he walked into the building at key points in the year. Well worth a visit.
  • Having visited Nero's overlooked site in 2002, 2008, and 2017, I can say that the Golden House has only gotten better with time (relatively speaking). What initially started out as damp, dimly lit ruins (of which there still is plenty of both) has transformed in part into an experimental media experience (using Oculus VR headsets) that will hopefully expand to more ancient sites in Rome in the near future. Being able to "see" the Golden House as it might have appeared ~2000 years ago makes such a meaningful difference. Still slightly a pain to book/find.
  • Amazing place, Nero's palace ruins, still being dug out ! A pity the guide depicted Nero only as a patron of the arts and omit to mention how cruel he was.. Entrance is Via Domus Aurea / Serapide GOOGLE LOCATION IS WRONG and they don't change it... Free Saturday and Sunday
  • I was impressed by Nero's Domus aurea. What a great place to visit. You get a guided tour with a video and something special that gives you a very good impression of how it was. Well worth the extra handling of making a reservation through the website
  • An interesting remaining from the Roman empire located in a little beautiful park away from the noisy traffic.

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Where to stay in Rome

For easy foot access to most of the city's main historical sites, consider staying in Rome's old town center. The area is conveniently placed for public transport, only a walk away from the city's main railway station. Accommodations here span all hotels sectors, from cheap hostels to luxury brand names. To avoid the steep prices and overcrowding of the town center, explore the hotels in the inner suburbs of Rome. They offer comfortable rooms and excellent food at a fraction of the price charged by the centrally located hotel chains. Another affordable option is the area around Vatican, which boasts a good selection of family-owned B&Bs.
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