Part of Roman Emperor Nero's Domus Aurea, or Golden House, has collapsed. 60 sqm of ceiling from the structure known as Trajan's gallery have caved in as a result of seepage from the recent heavy rains.
Workers were undertaking repairs at the time of the collapse, however no injuries were reported. Site authorities have described the situation as one of extreme alarm and predicted that more collapses are possible. As a security measure, the area, including a nearby tunnel, was immediately closed.
Built by Nero (37-68 AD) after Rome's great fire in 64 AD, the Domus Aurea is situated on the Oppian Hill in parkland overlooking the Colosseum. At the time of its completion the grounds comprised 50 hectares of land, covering much of the neighbouring Palatine and Coelian Hills. 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, who ruled from 98-117 AD, later built the famous Trajan's Baths on top of the Domus Aurea.
After being off-limits for years, the complex was re-opened to the public in 1999, at a cost of