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Domus Aurea Tour: Explore Nero's Golden Palace, wonders for the burial of the emperor

Experience the halls and enchanting frescoes of Nero's Golden House: the largest active archeological site of Ancient Rome

Venture into the architectural excellence of Ancient Rome: Nero's Domus Aurea

Embark on an extraordinary journey through time with our tour of the Domus Aurea with impressive virtual reality experience.

Walk through the palace halls, the grand portico, and the gardens as seen through VR goggles located in one of the now-underground spaces that once formed part the opulent Nero's Palace, called the Golden House, named for the shining golden leaves adorning some of the vaults.

Indeed, the Latin expression "Domus Aurea" literally translates to "Golden House".

Immerse yourself, on our guide tour, in the splendor of the Golden House, Imperial Rome's most sophisticated palace. As you settle on this ancient bench, prepare to be transported to the very environments where Emperor Nero spent the last three tumultuous years if his life, oscillating between lavish indulgence and tormented anguish.

Visit the part of the Domus Aurea brought to light after years of archaeological excavations, with the labyrinthine succession of dining rooms with large vaults, bedrooms, libraries, corridors, gardens, and even an artificial pond surrounded by side porticoes, which originally constituted the Nero's Palace.  But in such a residential complex never before designed, with about 100 rooms in total, death also lurked. It roamed then among the shadows of possible assassins, today in the semi-darkness state of burial of the palace, wanted by the emperors who succeeded Nero.

Retrace with our guide, qualified and skilled in narration, the tragic human story of Emperor Nero: while his Domus Aurea became increasingly splendid and luxurious, his popularity declined, making him fear the impending end.

In our guided tour you will discover that Nero moved into the Golden House, only in 65 AD, three years before he committed suicide just outside Rome in 68 AD when, having lost the support of the army, he had no chance of escape. In those years spent in the new Domus, Nero knew he was walking along a thread stretched over the abyss. Emperors couldn't resign, weren't sent into exile. They rarely died of natural causes. Mostly they were done away with, or having no escape, they committed suicide. As Nero did.

Explore the largest currently active excavation in Ancient Rome on our tour. Delve into the buried splendor of Nero's palace, hidden beneath meters of soil for over 2000 years. Witness ongoing excavation efforts, restoration projects, and crucial support works that safeguard the structures and vaults from potential collapse. 

With our expert you will admire and make sense of the splendid surviving frescoes of the Golden Palace, a small portion of the original ones, but representative of the vivacity and artistic taste of the time. You will also discover why these frescoes, discovered only in the Renaissance, a time of great passion for Ancient Rome, were called "grotesques". The discovery indeed happened by chance, from a hole opened in the ground, into which some Renaissance artists descended, including Raphael, who were so fascinated by this style that they imitated it, creating grotesques. These are mural painting decorations in which mythological figures intertwine with plants and architectural elements in an irregular and asymmetrical manner, creating a fanciful and dynamic effect. Not by chance are the grotesques widespread in many Renaissance palaces, in Rome as in many other Italian cities.

The Domus Aurea is practically opposite the Colosseum, where there was an internal pond in the residential palace of Nero, which Emperor Vespasian, a few years after Nero's death, decided to return to the Roman people, with a symbolic and propagandistic gesture, by building in Rome the largest building for gladiatorial combat: the Colosseum.

In this Emperor Vespasian was supported by the formal decree of the Senate on the damnation of Nero's memory, in Latin the so-called Damnatio Memoriae imposed on Nero: the obligation to erase his face from the bas-reliefs, to destroy his statues, to remove his name from public inscriptions. In short, to deliver the already dead Nero to the ultimate death, removing him from collective memory. The Roman senators would be surprised to know that with such forced impositions they have in fact created the myth, distorted and negative, but still immortal.

On our guided tour you will contextualize and downsize some of the legends about Emperor Nero. You will know if there are historical foundations to the popular icon that portrays Nero gleefully watching the terrible flames of the devastating fire of 64 AD, so much so that he was inspired by it and played the violin, not yet invented, or some other instrument of the time. Historians in fact believe that Nero intervened positively, also activating the army to block the spread of the flames, unstoppable in those days of July beaten by a strong South wind.

Nero also seems to have assisted the approximately 200,000 homeless people who escaped death. On the other hand, Imperial Rome, a complex city with a multi-ethnic population, a crossroads of trade and destination of goods and products from the most remote regions of the empire, was built above all with wood. Most of the houses, taverns, and warehouses were made of wood, so fires were frequent, but the fire of 64 AD was the worst in Rome's history. It destroyed entire neighborhoods, razed about 2/3 of the city to the ground, leaving thousands dead in the flames.

However, are historically founded the news of the assassination of his mother Agrippina, whom Nero tried to have secretly killed several times in vain, until he had to act openly, sending his trusted centurion to kill her with a sword.

During the visit to the Domus Aurea, you will learn that Nero was only 17 years old when he was acclaimed emperor by the army and in the early years of his reign was subject to the will of his mother, as well as guided by his tutor, the famous philosopher Seneca. In these years, Nero carried out projects useful for the Romans such as a reduction in taxes and incentives for sports and the spread of the arts, since he himself was strongly passionate about both and loved to perform, and be flattered for his talent, in competitions and public and private theaters.

Certainly, however, Nero lost his temper in the last years of his reign, in the years of abandonment to excesses, in the squandering of public money, especially in the expansion of his palace on the Palatine Hill with the construction of the Domus Aurea on the opposite hill, the Celio, where today tourists stop to take excellent photos of the Colosseum. where you will visit the. and he stained himself with terrible crimes. Not less, however, than other emperors, like Constantine who had his wife and son killed, considering them conspirators against him.

Visit the emerged part, after years of archaeological excavations, of the labyrinthine succession of dining rooms with large vaults, bedrooms, libraries, corridors, gardens, and even an artificial pond surrounded by side porticoes. But in that residential complex never before designed, with about 100 rooms in total, death also lurked. It roamed then among the shadows of possible assassins, today in the semi-darkness of the state of burial of the palace, desired by the emperors who succeeded Nero.

Retrace with our guide, qualified and skilled in narration, the tragic human story of Emperor Nero: while his Domus Aurea became increasingly splendid and luxurious, his popularity declined, making him fear the impending end.

Nero moved into his new palace, aptly nicknamed the Golden House, only in 65 AD, three years before he committed suicide just outside Rome in 68 AD when, having lost the support of the army, he had no chance of escape. In those years spent in the new Domus, Nero knew he was walking along a thread stretched over the abyss. Emperors couldn't resign, weren't sent into exile. They rarely died of natural causes. Mostly they were done away with, or having no escape, they committed suicide. As Nero did.

At the same time, on this small group tour of Nero's Palace, you will explore the largest active archaeological site of Ancient Rome. You will see excavations, restorations, support works of structures and vaults to prevent possible collapses since Nero's entire palace lies under meters of soil, buried for 2000 years.

You will admire the splendid surviving frescoes of the Palace, a small portion of the original ones, but representative of the vivacity and artistic taste of the time. You will also discover why these frescoes, due to their discovery taking place only in the Renaissance, a time of great passion for Ancient Rome, were called "grotesques". The discovery indeed happened by chance, from a hole opened in the ground, into which some Renaissance artists descended, including Raphael, who were so fascinated by this style that they imitated it, creating grotesques. These are mural painting decorations in which mythological figures intertwine with plants and architectural elements in an irregular and asymmetrical manner, creating a fanciful and dynamic effect. Not by chance are the grotesques widespread in many Renaissance palaces, in Rome as in many other Italian cities.

The Domus Aurea is practically opposite the Colosseum, where there was an internal pond in the palace, which Emperor Vespasian, a few years after Nero's death, decided to return to the Roman people, with a symbolic and propagandistic gesture, by building in Rome the largest building for gladiatorial combat: the Colosseum.

In this Emperor Vespasian was supported by the formal decree of the Senate on the damnation of Nero's memory, in Latin the so-called Damnatio Memoriae imposed on Nero: the obligation to erase his face from the bas-reliefs, to destroy his statues, to remove his name from public inscriptions. In short, to deliver the already dead Nero to the ultimate death, removing him from collective memory. The Romans would be surprised to know that with such forced impositions they have in fact created the myth, distorted and negative, but still immortal.

With our expert, you can contextualize and downsize some of the legends about Emperor Nero. You will know if there are historical foundations to the popular icon that portrays Nero gleefully watching the terrible flames of the devastating fire of 64 AD, so much so that he was inspired by it and played the violin, not yet invented, or some other instrument of the time. Historians in fact believe that Nero intervened positively, also activating the army to block the spread of the flames, unstoppable in those days of July beaten by a strong South wind.

Nero also seems to have assisted the approximately 200,000 homeless people who escaped death. On the other hand, Imperial Rome, a complex city with a multi-ethnic population, a crossroads of trade and destination of goods and products from the most remote regions of the empire, was built above all with wood. Most of the houses, taverns, and warehouses were made of wood, so fires were frequent, but the fire of 64 AD was the worst in Rome's history. It destroyed entire neighborhoods, razed about 2/3 of the city to the ground, leaving thousands dead in the flames.

However, the news of the assassination of his mother Agrippina, whom Nero tried to have secretly killed several times in vain, until he had to act openly, sending his trusted centurion to kill her with a sword, is historically founded.

During the visit to the Domus Aurea, you will learn that Nero was only 17 years old when he was acclaimed emperor by the army and in the early years of his reign was subject to the will of his mother, as well as guided by his tutor, the famous philosopher Seneca. In these years, Nero carried out projects useful for the Romans such as a reduction in taxes and incentives for sports and the spread of the arts, since he himself was strongly passionate about both and loved to perform, and be flattered for his talent, in competitions and public and private theaters.

Certainly, however, Nero lost his temper in the last years of his reign, in the years of abandonment to excesses, in the squandering of public money, especially in the expansion of his palace on the Palatine Hill with the construction of the Domus Aurea on the opposite hill, the Celio, where today tourists stop to take excellent photos of the Colosseum, and he stained himself with terrible crimes. Not less, however, than other emperors, like Constantine who had his wife and son killed, considering them conspirators against him.

Group tour
Group tour
12 max.

Duration
Duration
105 minutes

TOUR INCLUDES

  • check Domus Aurea Tickets with immediate access to the archeological site
  • check Highly proficient English-speaking guide

Likely to sell out

From € 61

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Reviews Feedback - 1Feedback - 2Feedback - 3Feedback - 4Feedback - 5 [5.0]

Feedback - 1Feedback - 2Feedback - 3Feedback - 4Feedback - 5

Our tour guide was a fantastic with limitless knowledge on Nero and the Domus Aurea! The VR experience was so much fun. Thank you!

SophieUSA

Feedback - 1Feedback - 2Feedback - 3Feedback - 4Feedback - 5

The tour was wonderful! Alexei was very well prepared about the Domus Aurea. The inside is stunning and the VR experience is unique!!

OscarUSA

see all reviews

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