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Domus Aurea (Nero's House, Rome)

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October 2014 and, after eight years it is finally possible to see some of this incredible place, albeit it in a limited fashion for the time being.

Restoration is ongoing (2018 is the projected time for all works to be finished) but at least there's now the possibility of seeing how things are progressing, as part of an official guided tour. Work largely stops at weekends and we're able to offer limited spaces on guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays. Please click on the calendar to see what's currently available.

Please be sure to wear appropriate footwear and also take along a warm jacket, for the high levels of humidity underground as much as anything else.

Visitor information for the Domus Aurea, Rome


Domus Aurea & Circus Maximus Exclusive Tour (3 hours 15 minutes)

'Works in progress', a new tour that takes you on a journey of discovery to two of the most fascinating sites of Ancient Rome. The tour highlights are:

  • Interior - the remains of the Circus Maximus, home of chariot races and capable of holding over 350,000 spectators.
  • Results of ongoing excavation works that hope to eventually reveal the original racing track, still 30ft below surface.
  • Stand in the place where Nero's fire began.
  • Exterior - en route to the Domus, pass by the Colosseum, the Palatine area, and the Ludus Magnus, the gladiator training school.
  • Interior - a fully guided tour to view ongoing restoration works at the Domus Aurea.
  • New tour highlights include multimedia presentations and 3D immersive technology (virtual reality headsets).

This tour takes you on a journey of discovery into two of the most impressive archaeological sites of Rome, both still undergoing restoration.

Tours head off at 10.00 AM and the first part of the tour lasts around two hours - you'll get to the Domus Aurea just before 12.00 PM for the tour there, a tour lasting around 75 minutes. The total running time, then, is roughly three hours and fifteen minutes - tours are in English and the group size is no more than 25 people.

We start with the remains of the Circus Maximus: the ancient world’s biggest entertainment complex lies in a valley between the Palatine and the Aventine hills. According to tradition, it was first built in the VI century BC, then enlarged on several occasions: significant works were carried out by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. It was primarily used for chariot races (the most popular spectacle in ancient Rome, memorably portrayed in the 1959 Hollywood blockbuster Ben Hur), but also for athletic competitions, wild animal fights and public events such as the triumphal procession awarded to victorious generals. It could accommodate from 150,000 to 250,000 spectators. The circus was destroyed by Nero’s fire in AD 64 and then rebuilt. The extant ruins date back to the imperial era.

The imposing oblong circus (600 metres long) was rounded at one end and straight at the other. The curved east end has recently been opened to the public, after excavations completed in 2016. You'll wander through the brick-built remains of the galleries that once led to the tiers of seating, with rooms used as brothels, bars and betting shops; the excavations brought to light part of a Roman road and fragments of a triumphal arch - the biggest of the time - built in AD 81 to commemorate the victory of the emperor Titus over the Jews. According to archaeologists, there is plenty more to discover, including the original chariot racing course - spina - still buried nearly 30 feet underground.

It was here, at the curved end, that Nero’s fire started on July 18th AD 64: much of the city was destroyed and the emperor used the devastation of the fire in order to create new buidings, including his residence: the Domus Aurea (Golden House).

Most of the extant monuments of ancient Rome were built after that fire. On our way to Nero’s house you'll pass in front of some of them: the Colosseum (inaugurated by Titus in AD 80) and the Ludus Magnus, the principal training-school for gladiators built by Domitian (81-96) over the remains of houses destroyed by the Great Fire.

Next it's on to a fully guided tour to view ongoing restoration works at the Domus Aurea, Rome. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes. You'll be accompanied by an official guide - your guide for the first part of the tour will accompany you to the Domus and then bid you farewell.

As of February 2017 the tours are even more special thanks to the introduction of multimedia presentations and 3D immersive technology that will give you the most amazing insights into the history of, and day to day happenings in, the Domus Aurea.

Please note that the 3D Oculus Rift headsets that are used as part of the virtual-reality time machine are not intended for prolonged use by children under the ages of 13, nor for anyone suffering from epilepsy or any serious eye conditions. Any and all multimedia commentaries are, for now, in English and Italian only.

Domus Aurea guided tour (includes e-book guide)

A fully guided tour to view ongoing restoration works at the Domus Aurea, Rome. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and is available in English, French or Spanish on Saturdays and Sundays only. Group sizes are restricted and you'll be accompanied at all times by an official guide.
The tour also includes a downloadable ebook guide in PDF, mobi and epub formats.

As of February 2017 the tours are even more special thanks to the introduction of multimedia presentations and 3D immersive technology that will give you the most amazing insights into the history of, and day to day happenings in, the Domus Aurea.

Please note that the 3D Oculus Rift headsets that are used as part of the virtual-reality time machine are not intended for prolonged use by children under the ages of 13, nor for anyone suffering from epilepsy or any serious eye conditions. Any and all multimedia commentaries are, for now, in English and Italian only.

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Please note that some tickets and tours offered here may not include all of the attractions pictured. Please read the individual descriptions of your ticket or tour to see what is included.