This is a nice park with free water fountains and great views down to the city and the Colosseum. inside there is a nice park on a hill with old batch of Traiano and excavations very old.
I would think for the views and the walk with the family for a rest will be ideal.
a bit of history
After the fire of 64 , which destroyed the greater part of the centre of Rome, Emperor Nero had a new residence built; it had walls sheathed by fine marbles and vaults decorated with gold and precious stones, so to earn the name of Domus Aurea (Golden House). It was designed by the architects Severus and Celer and decorated by the painter Fabullus. The enormous complex included boundless vineyards, pastures and woods, an artificial lake, treasures looted from the cities of the Orient, and precious ornaments, such as a statue of the Emperor in the robes of the Sun God.
At the death of Nero, his successors tried to bury every trace of the Palace. The luxurious halls were despoiled of the sheathing as well as of the sculptures and were filled with earth up to the the vaults; upon them the large Baths of Titus and Baths of Trajan were built and in the underlying valley the Colosseum was erected. The lavish fresco and stucco decorations of the Domus Aurea remained hidden until the Renaissance.
TThe bath areas are closed for restoration as of august 2013.
The construction of the Domus Aurea was considered as one of the craziest enterprises of the city .
It was built after the big fire of Rome in 64 AD, that destroyed two thirds of the city. The accommodation covered four districts (almost all the city centre of that period), and included a big salty lake. The palace itself radiated a tremendous luxury.
The rooms, halls and corridors were abundantly decorated with gold, silver and precious stones. The eastern wing of the accommodation was used for public receptions. The western wing was the house of Nero.
It was said that it had a round dining-room, which turned around day and night, inspired by the revolutions of the earth.
Near the entrance of the Domus Aurea stood a gigantic statue of Nero, the Colossus Neronis. It was a bronze statue of a male with a height of 37,2 meters. It was built in imitation of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The colossus was affixed with the heads of several emperors before Hadrian moved it to the Amphitheatrum Flavium. This building took the name "Colosseum" in the Middle Ages, so called after the statue outside of it. The name stuck and is used to this day.
It is necessary to book and it is possible to buy an audioguide or a guided tour.
UPDATE: The Domus Aurea was closed due to heavy rains and fears of a collapse. But as of Feb. 7, 2007, it's "open for restoration" a special program allowing you to visit Nero's Golden Palace and see the work in progress on the frescoes. Apparently we'll be allowed to climb some scaffolding and see restorers and frescoes close-up. Reservations required for a tour with an archeologist, Tues to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm, every 40 minutes. Reservations required. though you may be able to get them on the spot.
This probably shouldn't be the first thing on your list of sites to see - but if ancient history and architecture excites you, it's definitely worth a visit.
The Domus Aurea has been known since the late 1400s when magnificent frescoes and the famous Laocoon statue (now in the Vatican Museums) were found. Michelangelo, Raphael and other Renaissance artists were much influenced by what they found here. Until the 1950's, anyone with a rope and a light could enter the rooms and stroll around.
This Golden Palace was built by Nero (but unfinished at his death). As you know, he wasn't exactly popular. That's why the next emperor, Vespasian, tried to distance himself completely from Nero. Nero had appropriated vast tracks of Rome after the disastrous fire in 64 AD, arousing much suspicion among those displaced. Part of Nero's complex included huge gardens overlooking a lake. After Nero's death, the lake was drained and construction began on the Colosseum, a gift to appease the people (entry was by ticket, but the tickets were free).
Much of the Golden House has not been excavated because it lies directly under modern residences and a park. Incredibly vast, it was connected to palaces on the Palatine hill. Not much of the decoration is left; you'll have to imagine a lot. But I found the guide to be very knowledgeable.
Claudius’s temple was built on the Celium hill by the widow Agrippina in 54 A.D. In 64 A.D. Nero took advantage of a fire which destroyed it to incorporate it in his new house, the Domus Aurea, but, after his death, Vespasian ordered its reconstruction. Its ruins were then incorporated in SS. Giovanni e Paolo church’s bell tower.
The most important of all of Rome’s acqueducts, the Claudian acqueduct was started by Caligula in 38 A.D. and finished by Claudius in 52 A.D. Emperor Nero then extended it to the Celian hill, in order to supply his Domus Aurea with water, and was finally extended by Domitian to the Palatine hill, in order to reach the imperial palace.
Nero built this aquaduct in the first century to get water to his Domus Aurea. Later it was extended to bring water to his palaces at Palentine hill.
The giant arches are often integrated in newer buildings. This piece of the aquaduct can be found at the intersection of the Via Statilia and the Via di Sante Croce in Gerusalemme.
Mmm… Of particular interest… Well, it’s difficult even to select them, for there are so many. And you do not have enough time to properly appreciate the importance of every single frescoe, hall or statue you see. And it’s even harder, as one does not know what treasures are hidden in the 220 rooms that we, common mortals, cannot see… If I really have to pick, it would be:
- The Hall of Hector and Andromache (Sala di Ettore e Andromaca), once illustrated with scenes from Homer's Iliad; the Hall of Achilles (Sala di Achille), with a gigantic shell decoration;
- The Hall of Ninfeo (Sala di Ninfeo), which once had a waterfall;
- The Hall of the Gilded Vault (Sala della Volta Dorata), depicting satyrs raping nymphs, plus Cupid driving a chariot pulled by panthers. You'll be amazed by the beauty of the floral frescoes along the cryptoportici (long corridors); the longest is about 200 feet.
- The Octagonal Hall, which was Nero's banqueting hall, where the menu included casseroles of flamingo tongues and other rare dishes. When Nero moved in, he shouted, "At last I can start living like a human being!" (Via della Domus Aurea). Yes, I believe he was justified in saying that!! Though I, personally, probably could force myself to eat the food that was served: )
During the Renaissance, painters such as Raphael chopped holes (famous people were often like that – remember Byron writing on the walls of a castle!) in the long-buried ceilings to gain admittance and were inspired by the frescoes and small "grotesques" of cornucopia and cherubs. The word grotto comes from this palace because the palace is believed to have been built underground. Remnants of these almost-2,000-year-old frescoes and fragments of mosaics remain. Out of the original 250 rooms, 30 are now open to the public, after the restoration of 1999. Some of the sculptures that survived are also on view.
Practical matters: To visit the Domus Aurea, you must make a reservation at Centro Servizi per l'Archeologia, Via Amendola 2 (Metro: Colosseo; open Mon-Sat 9am-1pm and 2-5pm). But it's easier to book your visit before you leave. Or, once you're in Rome, call tel. 06-397-499-07, where a recorded message in both Italian and English will guide you through the reservation process. Usually you must call at least a week ahead of the date you've scheduled your visit. The guided tours, both with a guide or with audio-guides, last about 1 hour from 9am to 7pm. Visitors enter in groups of no more than 25, with gaps of 15 minutes between groups.
When the disastrous fire of A.D. 64 swept over Rome (it has never been proven that Nero set the fire, much less fiddled while Rome burned, but it’s still one of the best known legends both about Nero and about ancient Rome), the emperor Nero seized about three-quarters of the burned-out historic core (more than 200 acres) to create in just 4 years (they were certainly quicker in building than the folks in the Middle Ages!) one of the most sumptuous palaces in history. Sometimes I’m overcome with deep envy – image a home of 200 acres all to yourselves: )
Subsequent emperors destroyed much of the golden palace, but what remains is now on view. Envy, too? Only joking… However, they built other good things on the territory. For example, the area that is the Colosseum today was a central ornamental lake reflecting the glitter of the Golden House.
At the entrance Nero installed a 150-foot statue of himself in the nude. In the words of Suetonius, "all parts of it were overlaid with gold and adorned with jewels and mother-of-pearl." Evidently, he thought jewelry was the best dress: ) Well, who can blame him!
...continued in the next tip!
Nero's Golden House had been closed for 20 years. This underground palace has more than 150 rooms but only 25 rooms have been open to public after a millionaire digging and restoring job.
IMPORTANT TIP: Underground is very cold and humid. Approx. 10°C less than outside. So don't forget to bring a coat.
Reservations are required but I suggest you to avoid agencies fees and go directly to the ticket booth early in the morning before visiting the nearby Coliseum. Otherwise call 39-06-4815576. The tour lasts for 45' and groups are limited to 25 people. Better if you get a guided tour, there are no signs inside to understand what you see.
Daily from 9.40 am-6.40 pm. Last entrance at 6.40 pm. Closed on Tuesday. Tram 8 and 30 Metro : LINE "B" - Station Colosseo. Euro 5.00 tickets price + Euro 1.50 (booking fee)+ Euro 4.00 (prebuy fees ).