Published On: Thu, Mar 30th, 2017

Take a walk through Emperor Nero’s garden with a virtual reality tour

Visitors to Rome can now wander through Emperor Nero’s Golden House and lavish gardens

What remains of the once vast landscaped palace is small. It once stood in the middle of the ancient city, its walls decorated with gold-leaf, ivory and gemstones, among gardens boasting vineyards, pastures, woods and an artificial lake.

Treasures looted in Eastern cities were displayed in the complex of porticoes and rooms built by Nero after the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D. had razed the aristocratic dwellings in the area.

When Nero died his successors didn’t take long to get rid of the palace, building the Colosseum for gladiator battles on his ornamental lake in 70 AD, filling the Golden House with earth, and erecting the Baths of Trajan on top in 109 AD.

The complex was lost for centuries, before being rediscovered in the Renaissance by accident and becoming a must-see for artists from Raphael to Michelangelo, who were lowered into one of the rooms by a window in the ceiling to study the frescoes by candlelight.

Thanks to a new virtual tour you can put on a virtual reality headset and view the room in it’s original glory, when it was filled near to the roof with earth and as it would have looked in Nero’s time, with it’s stunning marble walls.

“It’s called the Domus Aurea (Golden House) not only for the gold leaf in the frescoes but because it was designed so that the rays of the sun would bounce off the marble and waterfalls to glimmer like jewels,” architect Gabriella Strano said on Wednesday.

Visitors that book in for this amazing experience will be with groups of up to 25 people. Those going along will be able to look behind and above them with the 360 degree technology viewers.

Roman Garden

The garden soil four-metres thick in parts and porous – weighing 30 percent more in heavy rains – but more than that, oaks and pines have stretched roots down over 25 metres to get nutrients from the mineral salts in the mortar between the ancient bricks below, weakening the structure.

Fifty trees will be uprooted and replaced with smaller, potted fruit and olive trees. The flower beds, which will echo the layout of the palace and baths below, will feature plants grown in Roman times, from rosemary to irises.

Italy has appealed for private sponsors to assist with the restoration work.

This story first appeared on The Local It 

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