History: Roman emperor Nero’s first palace set to woo tourists

The remains of ancient Roman emperor Nero’s first residence is sure to be one of this tourist hits this summer in Rome. It opened to the public last month after 10 years of restoration work.

Named the Domus Transitoria (Transitional Palace), the 800-square-meter, sumptuously decorated dwelling built on Rome’s Palatine Hill featured inlaid marbles in a range of colors and a profusion of frescoes across its walls and vaulted ceilings.

It burned down in the great fire of Rome in 64 AD, and afterwards, Nero ordered another, bigger and even more sumptuous palace built — the Domus Aurea (Golden Palace).

“The Domus Transitoria, Nero’s first royal palace on the Palatine, has opened to the public,” the Coliseum Archeological Park announced on Twitter at the re-opening. “The magnificence of its decorations anticipate those of the Domus Aurea.”

The beauty of the dwelling is accentuated by the original frescoes: they had been looted by Italian aristocrats soon after they were first discovered in the early 1700s and ended up in the collection of the Naples Archeological Museum, which has returned them to the Domus Transitoria for an extended loan.

By their stylistic mastery and the richness of the materials used, they occupy a place of extraordinary importance in the art of the Neronian age, according to the Coliseum Archeological Park.