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Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed


After a five-month-long restoration, parts of the Room of Achilles at Skyros in the Domus Aurea (Golden House in Latin), the vast palace built by Emperor Nero after the great fire of 64 AD in the heart of ancient Rome, are back to their original splendor. The work was carried out thanks to the sponsorship worth 100,000 Swiss francs, or nearly 90,000 euros, provided by the Foundation Isabel & Balz Baechi.

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
The foundation has previously donated money for renovation work at the sanctuary Sacro Monte di Varallo and at Rome's Villa Farnesina.

The partial restoration started at the Domus Aurea provides an insight into what the palace will look like when more work has been completed, said Alfonsina Russo, the new director of the archaeological area of the Colosseum.

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
The restoration is "a taste of what we will be able to find at the Domus Aurea", said Russo, referring to work planned for all of the 30,000 square meters of painted surface at the palace. "This palace was a great laboratory of experimentation".

"Here worked architecture masters, painters like Fabullo who had Greek painting as great examples".

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
Russo also said that the specific restoration work carried out so far has revealed the use of precious materials like the golden leaf, a symbol of the "ostentation and luxury that 'Princeps' Nero loved to surround himself with". Specifically, restorer Claudia Fiorani said that only by cleaning the room's tassels - one on a vault and another on a wall - "the results are surprising".

"We were able to bring back to life characters and anatomic details that surely inspired Renaissance masters", she said.

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
"This room truly showed all of Nero's luxury", not only "for the extensive use of gold" but also because one of the figures that is not yet entirely visible is shrouded in mystery and has raised the interest of art historians, the restorer explained.

"It is surely a woman and very important because of the use of purpurrissumum to paint her, a very precious and expensive pigment made by crushing millions of mollusks", also said Fiorani, adding that her identity is yet to be discovered.

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
The partial restoration so far carried out, said the director of the renovation work Maria Bartoli, "is also useful to get an idea on the timing and cost" of the work necessary on the entire building.

Alessandro D'Alessio, the scientific director of the monument, said the past year has been "difficult" but there is hope restoration work will gain new momentum with the appointment of the new director.

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
"So far we have secured 80% of the painted walls, which was urgent".

The culture ministry has already allocated 13 million euros for more restoration work expected to start by the end of the year, including on the vaults of Trajan, which collapsed in 2010, said D'Alessio.

Restoration works in the Room of Achilles at Nero's Golden House completed
Credit: ANSA
The director said additional work is already being planned for all of the "16,000 square meters of ceiling surface", possibly with more private sponsors.

Source: ANSA [February 21, 2018]

TANN

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