Some 2,000 years ago, the extravagant palace belonging to the Roman emperor Nero – the Domus Aurea meaning Golden House – stood in what was the heart of ancient Rome.
Designed as a place of entertainment, the Golden House was an immense imperial palace. There were several different wings, vast gardens, an artificial lake and a huge banqueting hall with a vaulted ceiling.
Buried for hundreds of years, the Golden Palace was rediscovered at the end of the 15th century.
In the year 64, a great fire broke out in Rome. It destroyed the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Palatine Hill and it was there that Nero’s Golden House was constructed.
After his death, the lavish palace was seen as an embarrassment and the lake was drained and the Colosseum built in its place.
The palace was open to the public but closed in 2008 over safety concerns. Italy has just launched an appeal for funds to restore the complex but it is estimated that would cost at least 60 million euros – quite a challenge for a country in economic crisis.