Rome's Domus Aurea reopens with homage to Raphael

Archaeological site reopens to the public with multimedia show dedicated to 'grotesque' style rediscovered by Raphael and other Renaissance artists.

Rome's Domus Aurea, containing the majestic remains of Emperor Nero's golden palace, has reopened to visitors after an extended closure due to covid-19 - with a new entrance designed by Stefano Boeri Architects.

The Colosseum Archaeological Park which manages the site along with the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, is celebrating the reopening by staging an exhibition there entitled Raffaello e la Domus Aurea.

The show, which delves into the ‘grotesque’ style rediscovered by Raphael and other Renaissance artists in the 16th century, was originally scheduled last year on the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death but was subsequently postponed.

Raphael was among a number of leading artists of the day - including Pinturicchio, Signorelli and Ghirlandaio - who lowered themselves with ropes into the site's “caves” or “grottoes” to witness the long-lost Roman frescoes by torchlight.

The fanciful figures and foliage motifs that the artists saw resulted in a fashion in “grotesques” that would influence the interior decoration of noble houses for the following three centuries.


The new exhibition at the Domus Aurea features "extraordinary interactive and multimedia devices" in the Octagonal Room and in the surrounding rooms, along with videomapping and a tour "full of novelties," fascinating for visitors of all ages.

Nero set about building his vast, sumptuous residence on the Palatine and Oppian Hills after the devastating fire in 64 AD, which destroyed much of the centre of Rome.

The Domus Aurea was originally a sprawling estate occupying 80 hectares surrounding the valley where the Colosseum was constructed a few years after Nero's death.

Details of visiting times and booking information for the Raphael exhibition, which will run until 3 April 2022, can be found on the dedicated websiteImages: Dotdotdot.

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Address Via della Domus Aurea, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome's Domus Aurea reopens with homage to Raphael

Via della Domus Aurea, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy