Golden House Of Nero
Rome has another attraction for the visitor to see. Actually, the Golden House of Nero has been there since 64 AD. It was rumored that the fire that left only one third of the city standing, was started by Nero. After this fire, he built the Golden House, an extravagant palace which was partly covered in gold foil, with jewels and ivory pasted onto the ceiling. All of that extravagance disappeared after Nero’s death. In the Renaissance, the Golden House ruins were rediscovered and at the end of the last century, a massive restoration effort was at last completed.
The ruins are now opened to the public. Nero’s palace and its grounds spanned three hundred and fifty acres. It contained a man made lake, some vineyards and the villa itself. The palace had three hundred rooms but none of them were bedrooms. This could have been purposely done as Nero was known to have great parties that would have lasted for many hours.
There was a one hundred and thirty foot statue (40m) of Nero himself on the site but the statue was moved to the Colosseum. The bronze base can still be seen in that location. Time has destroyed a lot of details but there is enough to fill a tour of an hour or two in the cool surroundings of the Golden House. It is nice to get out of the heat. Rome’s temperatures can be up in the eighties in October. On the ground floor, you can go through the audio tour which has may fresco vaults painted by Fabullus, a well known artist of his day. His style was familiar to those in the city of Pompeii, not far from Rome. In fact, Raphael used these frescos as models for his work, the site had been newly discovered during the Renaissance and other artists such as Michaelangelo also went to view the frescos. Their signatures can be seen scratched on the walls. Other well known persons of the age have left their mark too, for instance the Marquis de Sade and Casanova.
The condition of the ruins vary, some areas have mere shadows with hardly visible markings whereas others are golden marble walls with paintings more or less brought back to life. There are plenty of grottos underneath to tour. The most remarkable area is the Octagon Room. Nero was an admirer of Greek art and it was in this room that he kept the statue of the Dying Gaul. This statue is now on display at the Pallazo Altemps museum. There is a reconstruction of this octagonal room outdoors where visitors are able to get an idea how it was to live there. The garden has also been reconstructed to show how it would have been like at Nero’s time.
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