Nero’s Opulent, Newly Restored Domus Transitoria Reopens

People walk in the Domus Transitoria, the first imperial palace of Roman Emperor Nero on the Palatine Hill in Rome, during its opening for the press, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Following the great fire of 64 AD, the palace was replaced by the Domus Aurea, Nero's Golden Palace. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME — The first palace built by Rome’s most notorious emperor, Nero, has reopened to the public after an extensive renovation.

Visitors to Nero’s Domus Transitoria (or Transit House), which opened Friday after a decade of structural work and renovations, must descend underground to view the rooms and gardens of the residence, covered over the centuries by other buildings and debris.

A woman walks in the Domus Transitoria, the first palace of Roman Emperor Nero on the Palatine Hill in Rome, during its opening for press, Thursday, April 11, 2019. The palace was destroyed by the great fire of 64 AD later replaced by the Domus Aurea, Nero’s Golden Palace. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Domus Transitoria was criticized even by Nero’s contemporaries for its opulence, with inlaid marble, frescoed walls and ceilings, and trimmings of gold and precious gems. Built on the Palatine Hill almost 2,000 years ago, it predated the more famous Domus Aurea (Golden Palace.)

Alfonsina Russo, general manager of the Colosseum archaeological park, said that “Nero wanted an atmosphere that expressed his ideology, that of an absolute ruler, an absolute monarch.”

Journalists test virtual reality oculus as they visit the Domus Transitoria, the first imperial palace of Roman Emperor Nero on the Palatine Hill in Rome, during its opening for the press, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Following the great fire of 64 AD, the palace was replaced by the Domus Aurea, Nero’s Golden Palace. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)