NERO’S GOLDEN HOUSE WAS UNDERFOOT. The Golden House of Nero had been one of the wonders of Rome. It set all kinds of records for wretched excess. According to Suetonius, “its courtyard was so large that a 120-foot colossal statue of the emperor himself stood there; it was so spacious that it had a mile-long triple portico….”
I knew that the Colosseum in Rome was built on part of the site of the Golden House (Domus Aurea) of Nero, but I had always thought of the remains, if any, of the Golden House as consisting of no more than some loose stones and bricks. I had not realized how much of the Golden House survived. I realize now that when I walked near the Colosseum or for that matter anywhere in a large area near the Colosseum, the Golden House was underfoot, and much of the building was still there—intact. This article in Archaeology magazine by Federico Gurgone describes and shows how much of the building remains. For example, the photo on the first page shows “a massive space with frescoed walls and ceiling vaults some 36 feet high”. On pager 2, there is a photo of the frescoed interior of Room 42, “one of the grand spaces inside the Domus Aurea meant for Nero’s use”. Frescoes that remain still cover more than 300,000 square feet—”the area of 30 Sistine Chapels”.
Although projects like this always fail to meet timetables, there is talk of being ready to open the Golden House to the public in 2018.