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Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public


Before the Domus Aurea, there was the Domus Transitoria. The architectural genius and decorative virtuosities remain intact. The first palace of Nero set in the heart of the Palatine, is impressive to say the least. After almost seventy years of closure, the Domus Transitoria, the first house of the eccentric and (some might say) visionary emperor, built between 60 and 64 AD in the name of unbridled luxury, will open to the general public on April 11, Alfonsina Russo director of the archaeological park of the Colosseum announced.

Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Credit: WikiCommons
This is an important milestone in Russo's ambitious plan to expand the sites on the Colle dei Cesari. It took years of restoration work and refurbishment to reveal this almost unseen monumental complex, which had a relatively short lifespan, since after the fire of AD 64 Nero commissioned the construction of the new Domus Aurea extending from the Palatine to the Oppio Hill. After that, the damnatio memoriae did the rest. The renunciation by the successors, the Flavians, weighed on the conservation of Nero's architecture.


The tours will involve small groups, as one enters through either of the two original ancient staircases, descending into the belly of the Palatine, in a large space that today is sealed off like a cave by a vast loft built in the 1960s. It is located beneath the so-called Coenatio Iovis of the Domus Flavia, known as Bagni di Livia, first excavated in the 18th century by the Farnese family.

Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Credit: La Repubblica


Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Credit: La Repubblica
The opulence of the rooms is evident here. The architectural structure of a nymphaeum conceived as the frons scaene of a theatre that was meant to showcase fountains like a theatrical performance to entertain Nero and his guests is immediately striking. There are small niches on the pulpit decorated with polychrome marble columns, from which two thousand years ago gushes of water exploded in unison with the waterfall of the nymphaeum. Opposite stands the pavilion supported by porphyry columns where Nero would lie down, the heart of a procession of luxuriously decorated rooms, where the foundations of the Domus Aurea now lie.


Water played a leading role: this structure was used for summer activities where Nero found refreshment during the summer. The historian Suetonius wrote that Nero's dream was to bring back the golden age, and it will be through multimedia technology that the original effect will be restored.

Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Credit: La Repubblica


Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Credit: La Repubblica
The visitor's path, created by Alessandro D'Alessio, is enriched by a lighting design that highlights the key points of opulence, between the floors in marble inlays in opus sectile, and the vaults with frescoes, covered with gold leaves, lapis lazuli. In the hall of the pavilion, a projection in both Italian and English audio introduces visitors to the history of the first Neronian residence on the Palatine and its relation to the subsequent Domus Aurea.


The tour continues by exploring other remarkable settings, until it crosses an unexpectedly imposing 80-seat latrine, intersected by the foundation wall of the subsequent construction of the Domitian era.

Nero's Domus Transitoria on the Palatine to open to the public
Credit: La Repubblica
The final section, which does not belong to the Domus Transitoria, contains a video wall that will offer a spectacular reconstruction of the pictorial decoration of Nero's time.

Source: Il Messaggero [March 26, 2019]

TANN

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