« After nearly five decades of closure due to serious structural issues, the Colosseum Archaeological Park in Rome is set to unveil the Domus Tiberiana to the public on Thursday, following extensive restoration efforts.
This monumental imperial residence, sprawling across approximately four hectares on the Palatine Hill, offers panoramic views of the Roman Forum with its commanding multi-tiered arches, an iconic symbol of this ancient cityscape.
Visitors will step into the palace along the covered Clivo della Vittoria street, retracing the footsteps of emperors and their courts as they make their way to this majestic private residence. It was here, on the Palatine Hill, that the modern concept of the word ‘palace’ took shape.
« The reopening of the Domus Tiberiana, nearly half a century later, is an extraordinary event. Some generations have not had the chance to experience these spaces, » remarked Alfonsina Russo, Director of the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo.
She added that this was the first imperial palace, ‘second only to the House of Augustus.’
« It was an immense palace, serving as a backdrop to the Roman Forum. Inside, we have created seven rooms that narrate its history: everyday life, rituals, events, decorators, and the collection of marble craftsmen who worked tirelessly, primarily for the Flavian emperors, but also for the last one, Domitian, to embellish this remarkable place. »
While historically referred to as the Domus Tiberiana in honour of Emperor Tiberius, it was Emperor Nero who laid its foundations, following the fire of 64 AD, around the same time as the construction of the Domus Aurea. Subsequent emperors, particularly Domitian and Hadrian, expanded the palace. It endured through late antiquity, only to be revived after a period of abandonment.
Archaeological investigations have unearthed various sections of the imperial palace, including service quarters, leisure areas, and even a refuse dump likely established after a devastating earthquake, containing the remains of deceased animals and providing insights into the palace’s daily life. Remarkably, the palace continued to be inhabited into the 5th century AD.
The inauguration of the Domus Tiberiana was presided over by Italian Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, during a recent press preview, marking a historic moment in the ongoing restoration and preservation of Rome’s rich architectural heritage. »