Nero's Domus Aurea, Guided Tour in English
An extraordinary experience to explore the sumptuous home built at the behest of Emperor Nero a short way from the Colosseum! This special guided tour is the only way to visit what remains of the Domus Aurea and learn about its history led by an official guide.
about 75 minutes
The ticket includes booking to skip the line at the entrance.
The route is partially wheelchair accessible. Not suggested for visitors with motor disabilities.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Multiple tour start times are available at the visitor's choice.
We recommend wearing comfortable shoes and windbreakers. Underground path with high humidity and rough terrain.
Description of your booking
This booking lets you tour Domus Aurea an official in-house guide. The tour includes a guided tour in English on foot where the majestic residence of the emperor Nero had been built.
Because it is a guided tour for up to 46 people, the archaeological site of the Domus Aurea can only be accessed by the public by booking this guided tour.
Once the mandatory protective helmet is on, visitors enter the imperial residence to see the frescoed rooms which recent restoration have brought back to light. Because this archaeological area is still under restoration, the tour is aided by the use of 3D viewers.
Visitors can sit and watch a film for about 20 minutes that recreates the appearance of how the residence looked at the peak of its glory. The viewers faithfully recreate the majesty of the Roman emperor's palace in ancient times.
What is included
- One admission to the Domus Aurea
- Guided tour
- 3D viewer for multimedia visits (about 20 minutes)
- Digital guide of the Domus Aurea with map
What is not included
- Admission to other sites
The tour's start time and other useful information which will be printed on the confirmation voucher.
As there is high demand and limited ticket availability, the time and date of this reservation may be changed. Our staff will contact you if that should happen to suggest alternatives. We will use the contact details you provided when you booked.
PLEASE NOTE!!! There are very limited places for this tour. Sending an order and receiving a copy of your order by email is not a BOOKING CONFIRMATION; it is just a booking request. The booking will be confirmed only when you receive the VOUCHER. If the time and date are not available, we will contact you promptly to suggest alternatives or refund your payment if already made.
Ticket € 14.00 + € 2.00 reservation fee
Children 6-18 years.
Ticket € 10.00 + € 2.00 reservation fee
Children 0-5 years.
Ticket € 0.00 + € 0.00 reservation fee
Temporary exhibition extra charges are added automatically to the on line ticket price.
Italy Travels is not responsible for any partial closure of rooms, itinerary changes, cancellations or delays in entry due to force meajure, adverse weather, personnel strikes, or decisions made by the management of the museum or the Superintendency.
Entry tickets to the Domus Aurea, once booked, may not be changed in any way or canceled.
Visitors who come after the time printed on the voucher or are no-shows will not have access to the site and will receive no refund, even partial.
Once booked, these tickets cannot be changed. We, therefore, suggest you pay very close attention during the online booking process when choosing the date, time, and type of tickets.
When you can visit Nero's Domus Aurea
Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Multiple tour start times are available at the visitor's choice.
- 10:00 AM
- 11:45 AM
- 03:45 PM
The interior is particularly damp.
All visitors will be provided with a special helmet to comply with safety regulations.
We recommend wearing comfortable shoes and windbreakers.
The route is partially wheelchair accessible.
For security reasons, this site may be closed even without notice, on the recommendation of the Superintendent. In this case the price paid will be refunded and no further compensation can be requested for the cancellation of the tour even if communicated on the day of the visit.
Nero's Domus Aurea in Rome
The vestibule of the house was so big it contained a colossal statue 120 feet high, the image of Nero; and it was so extensive that it had three colonnades a mile long. There was a lake too, in fact, a sea, surrounded with buildings as big as cities. Behind it were villas with fields, vineyards and pastures, woods filled with all kinds of wild and domestic animals. In the rest of the house everything was coated with gold and adorned with gems and shells. The dining-rooms had fretted ceilings made of ivory, with panels that turned and shed flowers and perfumes on those below. The main banquet hall was circular and constantly revolved day and night, like the heavens. The baths were supplied with both sea water and sulfurous spa water. When Nero inaugurated the house at the end of the works, he showed himself satisfied, and said 'Finally I begin to live in a house worthy of a man.'" (Suetonius)
The history of the Domus Aurea
In the early years of his reign, Nerone had built the "Domus Transitional" designed to connect its possessions. During the terrible fire of 64 A.D. the palace burned completely and therefore it was necessary to build a new imperial residence, the Domus Aurea.
The name comes from the Latin, "house of gold". It took this name because of the extensive gold claddings and the ceiling embellished with semi-precious stones and ivory plates requested by the emperator. The villa extended for about 250 hectares, most of the area was occupied by gardens with pavilions destined to parties. At the center of the gardens which included forests and entire vines, there was a pond in part artificial, in which then arose the Colosseum.
Nerone also commissioned a great big bronze statue of about thirty meters reproducing himself, dressed with the old dress of the Roman sun god, Apollo. The statue was placed at the main entrance of the building, overlooking the Palatine Hill. The statue had been adapted over the years with the heads of the various successors of Nerone, before Adriano decided to demolish it, to build the Flavian Amphitheatre, commonly called Colosseum.
The “Domus Aurea” was essentially a villa for the holidays with approximately three hundred rooms and none of them used as sleeping rooms. The halls were finely coated in fine polychrome marble or richly frescoed. On each floor there were pools and in the hallways fountains..
The fine mosaics were mainly employed for covering floors, but then Nerone decided to decorate mosaic ceilings of some rooms anticipating one of the main issues of Christian art. Today visitors can admire only few fragments of these old mosaics.
It seems that the architects Severus and Celer, designers of the Domus, had created an innovative and ingenious mechanism to ensure the ceiling movement and rotation like the stars in to the sky.
After the Nerone’s death, the palace was stripped of its precious coverings. On the plot of the domus Aurea were built the Baths of Titus, the Temple of Venus in Rome and the Coliseum. In forty years, the Domus Aurea was totally buried under these new constructions.
The burial helped the paintings to survive as sand worked as the volcanic ash of Pompeii, protecting them from moisture.
Towards the end of the XVth century, a young Roman accidentally fell into a cave. The cave was covered with painted figures. Soon the word spread and the young Roman artists lowered themselves down inside the cave to admire the beautiful ancient frescoes. Today the frescoes are faded, but were studied during the Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael. Raphael even took inspiration from the frescoes of the Domus Aurea for the making of the Vatican Loggia. Thanks to the discovery of these paintings, the artistic term "grotesque" was created
The Domus Aurea was the subject of a long restoration, the reopening was scheduled for January 2007, but the great monument continued to suffer from the presence of the traffic of the Capital and to the roots of the trees that infiltrated into the ground, creating further instability. For these reasons the restoration is gone very slowly.
On the 30 of March ,2010 collapsed the domus’ entrance vault. This prolonged the long period of closure to the public of the archaeological site, until the year 2015.