Herodotus Returns


Piece of roof of Nero’s Domus Area collapses in Rome
March 30, 2010, 10:54 am
Filed under: Rome | Tags: , , ,

The 66-square meter section of the Domus Aurea’s ceiling did not injure any tourists when it caved in, but will obviously raise questions about the site’s fragile state. This is the worst of a number collapses which have taken place at the 1st AD villa, but archaeologists understand that this type of damage is inevitable. The photo of the massive gash in the park area above the villa brings on something of the apocalyptic doesn’t it? Strangely, this is how it was discovered in the first place: in the 15th century, a young Roman boy walking with two friends in the park suddenly fell through a hole in the earth. When he came to, he was in the main hall of the Domus Aurea, looking up at perfectly preserved ceiling frescoes.

Some 60 square meters of the baths built on top of the Golden House by the emperor who succeeded Nero, Trajan, came down because of seepage from recent heavy rains, civil protection experts said.

The area where the collapse occurred, a tunnel that was once part of the baths, has been cordoned off because it is close to the entrance to public gardens above it, they said.

“Now we’re trying to seal it off so no more rain will get into the hole,” they said. Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said he was “very worried” about the state of the structure, one of Rome’s most celebrated tourist attractions.

The special commissioner for the site, Luciano Marchetti, said “more collapses were possible”. The situation, he said, is “one of extreme alarm”.

The Domus Aurea, built by Nero soon after the great fire in Rome in 64 AD, has been shut since 2005 for work to make it more stable.

More on the collapse at the Domus Aurea.

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