Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nero's Palace Collapses

A 60' portion of the Domus Aurea's roof collapsed early Tuesday afternoon. No one was injured, as the monument was closed for restoration. Experts believe rain and water damage was the cause of the roof's instability. They also said this was one of the biggest collapses the structure has sustained in the last 50 years. A smaller, but similar, collapse occurred in 2001, resulting in it being closed to the public for a brief time.

The popular tourist attraction, seated between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, was once home to Roman emperor, Nero. It was completed the same year Nero took his own life. The name, Domus Aurea, means "house of gold." It was named for the gold leaf which once adorned almost every inch of the palace. The vaulted ceilings were once covered in pearl encrusted ivory. The ancient building is a maze of passageways, adorned with elaborate frescoes.

The Domus Aurea was reopened in 1999, having been closed to the public for nearly 20 years while it underwent restoration efforts. The latest collapse has experts debating its future.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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