Monday, April 18, 2011


Notorious for being a cruel megalomaniac tyrant who persecuted early Christians, had his stepbrother, two of his wives and even his own mother murdered, Rome's fifth emperor, Nero, has never been held dear in Roman history.

Take a visual tour of Emperor Nero's palace in this slide show at

The remains of the magnificent estate on the Palatine hill where the emperor lived in the first years of his reign, will open to the public at the end of the summer, Italian authorities announced at the opening of a major exhibition on the controversial emperor.

Stretching for about 1.2 miles along key archaeological sites of ancient Rome, the exhibition, which runs until Sept. 18, aims to show the many faces of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (37 - 68 A.D. ).

Nero became emperor at just age 17 in 54 A.D. After his people took up arms against him, Nero fled Rome and stabbed himself in the throat before he could be arrested. He was 31.

The palace, named Domus Transitoria, was an architectural masterpiece which stretched from the Palatine, where Nero first lived with his grand-uncle and adoptive father Claudius and his mother Agrippina, to the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline.

The residence was grandiose, but it did not last long. Built around 60 A.D., it was ruined in the Great Fire four years later and was replaced by the Domus Aurea, one of the most opulent palatial complexes ever constructed.

After Nero's death, subsequent emperors officially damned his legacy and destroyed most of whatever remained of Nero's first castle after the great fire. However, excavations, begun in the 18th century and continued afterwards, brought to light some fragmentary complexes.

"Based on the archaeological evidence, we have produced the first ever 3D virtual reconstruction of the complex," Rea said.

Italy's junior culture minister Francesco Maria Giro explained to reporters touring the show that the exhibit is "not an attempt at rehabilitating Nero. It helps to explain his merits, his qualities but also his failings, to give a fuller image."

The complex is expected to open to limited groups of visitors in September.


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