San Giovanni in Laterano and the elusive Holy Stairs!!
Rome Travel Blog› entry 10 of 16 › view all entries
Today we decided was the day to try and find Nero's Golden House. I didn't know much about Nero's Golden House before we went, but stumbled upon it in our guidebook while in Sheffield just before arriving in Rome and decided it was something we needed to see while there.
Unfortuantely I didn't get any photos while there because the Domus Aurea is underground and the lighting is not good for photography. ( I think they might have told us not to take pictures as well.)
We started the day waiting in line to buy tickets for the Domus Aurea and I was struck by how impatient and rude the woman was at the ticket counter. She really didn't have the time for us and pushed us along as fast as she could.
We had an hour to kill before our guided tour so with newly purchased books we plopped ourselves down on a bench in the park next to the Domus Aurea and whiled away the hour.
Since the Domus Aurea is underground the first thing we noticed when starting our tour and our descent was how cold it was down there. It had been a hot roman day but we actually needed light jackets once inside and our tour guide had on a heavy coat.
The size of Nero's Golden House is only estimated as the site has not been fully and properly excavated so theories range from 100-300 acres!! Either number you pick, it's huge!! It spreads beneath the city of Rome and the Baths of Trajan and at it's heyday included a large man made lake. Each Emperor after Nero (who comitted suicide in the year 68) pillaged and built over the Domus Aurea until it was obliterated and forgotten until the 15th century, covering what they considered an embarrassment. Fortunately for us their actions saved many of the painted frescos and magnificant brick work. My favorite stop on the underground tour had to be the dome room, with an oculus letting the light spill into the room.
We were very fortunate in our timing because the Domus Aurea was closed a year after we visited due to heavy rains collapsing the ceiling, though it was partially re-opened this year to my understanding.