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House of Augustus, Rome

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The House of Augustus, or the Domus Augusti (but also Domus Augustea), is the first major site upon entering the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy. It served as the primary residence of Augustus during his reign. The Domus Augusti should not be confused with the Domus Augustana (also known as the Domus Augustiana), which is a part of the vast palatial complex constructed by Emperor Domitian on the Palatine in 92 AD.ConstructionAfter being awarded tribunica potestas for life in 23 BC, Octavian decided to buy the house of Quintus Hortensius on the Palatine and made it his primary place of residence. The comparative modesty of the Domus Augusti was in keeping with the return to traditional ideals promoted during the Augustan period, as indicated by Suetonius in the quote below. The Domus Augusti was located near the Hut of Romulus and other sacred sites which relate to the foundation of Rome. In antiquity this residence contained two levels, each leading to a garden courtyard. The bottom floor is not accessible today, but it is possible to make out the basin of a fountain and the rooms beyond it that were paved in coloured marble.The Domus Augusti in contemporary timesSuetonius (c. 70 AD - after 130 AD), lawyer and secretary of the imperial palace, wrote of Augustus and his palace: It is generally agreed that he was most temperate and without even the suspicion of any fault. He lived at first near the Forum Romanum, afterwards on the Palatine in a modest dwelling remarkable neither for size or elegance, having but a short colonnade with columns of local stone and rooms without any marble decorations or handsome pavements. For more than 40 years he used the same bedroom in winter and summer.
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  • As others have said, you can only do this as, and the House of Livia, part of a pre-planned visit. We did our visit as part of a Walks of Italy tour. Our guide, David, was an instructor in archaeology...  more »
  • At the heart of the Palatine here is the beautiful and sumptuous House of Augustus, consisting of high walls and decorative geometric constructions. Unfortunately it is often closed to visitors. Don't miss it if you find it open.
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  • The House of Augustus and the House of Livia are only open to organised tours, but are well worth seeing. You can pay for a commercial guided tour which usually means quite a large group, or you can b...  more »