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Italy to launch restoration of Nero's Palace in Rome

Italy has relaunched plans for the restoration of the Golden House of Nero Palace located in the heart of downtown Rome, a few metres from the Colosseum. Closed to the public since 2005, the site may partly reopen its doors to the visitors within two years. But by then, the Italian government must find at least 60 million euros to finance the work, quite a challenge in a country in full economic recession.  

The circular room of the Palace of Nero in Rome [Credit: © DR]
Buried for centuries, the Domus aurea, or Golden, House was rediscovered during the Renaissance. After 20 years of closure, excavations and restoration work helped to reopen the site to visitors in 1999, but in 2005, after damage caused by heavy rains, the Palace was once again closed to the public.  

This enormous structure of some 15,000 square metres was built after the great fire of Rome in AD 64, attributed to Nero. It included several buildings, extensive gardens and an artificial lake that was drained after the Emperor's death and the Colosseum built in its place. 

Masterpieces at risk 

The country's colossal debt and the associated austerity measures has made it difficult for Italy to maintain many of its iconic monuments.  

The Palace of Nero as it was in the 1st century [Credit: © DR]
Earlier this year several chunks of the Colosseum broke-off and the Government had to appeal to the private sector to restore the site, in this case, Italian shoe magnate Diego Della Valle, the patron of the Tod's group.  

To rehabilitate the site of Pompeii, which has also seen several collapses, Italy applied and won support from the European Union, receiving 105 million euros for the site's up-keep. 

More recently, on June 9, the Trevi fountain has shown signs of weakness, with several decorative pieces having dislodged from the upper frieze.  

Rome's municipal councillor delegate for culture has begun a campaign to raise funds to initiate large scale restoration work on the fountain.  

Source: FranceTv [June 21, 2012]

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