Virtual reality tours of Rome's Domus Aurea

Visitors can reserve 3D tour of Nero's residence from 4 February.

Rome's Domus Aurea will offer virtual reality tours to visitors every weekend from 4 February, providing visual insights into how Emperor Nero's golden palace looked 2,000 years ago.

The 3D tours, which must be booked in advance and cater to groups of up to 25 people, will focus on the Volta Dorata hall and various exterior areas including the surrounding gardens.

Francesco Prosperetti, superintendent for Rome's archaeological heritage, described the project as an "unprecedented immersive and multimedia experience" which would "recover memories lost since the time of Trajan."

Located on the Colle Oppio hill opposite the Colosseum, the Domus Aurea reopened partially to guided visits in late 2014, six years after closing due to concerns over cave-ins.

The ongoing works to secure and restore the underground site, with a total budget of over €30 million, will continue until 2018, according to Prosperetti.

Built by Nero (37-68 AD) after Rome’s great fire in 64 AD, the sprawling Domus Aurea complex covered much of the neighbouring Palatine and Coelian Hills by the time of its completion. Rooms were decorated with frescoes depicting fantastical creatures such as griffins and winged lions, while other walls were adorned with semi-precious stones and gold leaf.

Emperor Trajan later built the famous Trajan’s Baths on top of the Domus Aurea, while the Colosseum was built on the site of a drained lake that once belonged to the extravagant complex.

During the Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Pinturicchio and Michelangelo lowered themselves down on ropes into the Domus Aurea to learn from the perspective used in the ancient frescoes. The artists also carved their names into the walls as proof of their visit.

For information on the 3D tours, which are scheduled at weekends from 09.00-16.45, tel. 0639967700 or visit website.