It was known at Rome, the immense and sumptuous Domus Aurea, the golden House of Nero (37-68), and its gardens. Since Friday, the public can now discover the Domus transitional standard, the first remains of the roman emperor, where he lived from 54 to 64. The palace derives its name from its location as it allowed to go to the hills of the Palatine and the Esquiline hill, near the present Circus Maximus . It was designed to relieve the emperor from the sweltering heat of the summers the romans. According to the archaeologists, he sat probably on a throne of marble, in front of a row of fountains, in the shade of a canopy of silk.

latrines spared by the fire of 64

But Nero could not enjoy it long of his Domus transitional standard. In the night of 18 to 19 July 64, a huge fire broke out in Rome. The story of the historians most hostile to the emperor wants the inciendiaire either Nero himself. For more than a week, the flames ravaged the eternal City, including the palace, the ruins of which still bear traces of the huge blaze.

This is a latrine, probably built for the workers and slaves employed on the vast construction site, which have best withstood the flames and time. The walls are painted red to hide the dirt and a gutter once supplied with water, and allowed to wet a sponge attached to a stick to clean themselves. Far from being frowned on, the place was a place where we could stay long to share the news and rumors of the day.

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On the site of the Domus transitional standard, as the fire has not destroyed was carried away by the successors of Nero. Most of the columns, slabs and walls of marble have been used for construction of the baths of Trajan (53-117). There remains, therefore, little remains of the sumptuous palaces once adorned with gold leaf and precious stones and pearls.

Visit in virtual reality A course in virtual reality is proposed to the visitor to rediscover the luxury of the first palace of Nero. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP

But the building regains its glory and its colors, thanks to two video installations and a course in virtual reality. “The visitor will experience, in person and through virtual reality, of the architectural genius of the emperor and his experimentations in the field of marble and decorations,” says Alfonsina Russo, director of this course, archaeology, which also includes the Colosseum and the imperial forum.

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Big fan of the legends of the Trojan war, Nero had painted the ceilings of his palace with scenes of mythical epic of the trojan, some of which are now on display at the Museum Palatine. These frescoes are attributed to the painter Fabullus, whose works in the Domus Aurea, built after the fire, had a profound influence on Renaissance artists such as Raphael.

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