Newly restored Roman palace opens to visitors.

The Domus Tiberiana imperial palace on Rome’s Palatine Hill reopened to the public on Thursday, after almost 50 years, following a major restoration by the Colosseum Archaeological Park.

The imposing building, which sprawls over a four-hectare site on the Palatine, was closed in the 1970s due to serious structural problems triggered by excavations in the early 20th century.

On Wednesday evening the newly restored ancient monument was inaugurated by Italy’s culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano and Parco archeologico del Colosseo director Alfonsina Russo.

The reopening of the arched landmark restores an important link between the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, with visitor access from the Farnese Gardens and the ramp of Domitian.

In a statement, Parco archeologico del Colosseo says visitors will be able to walk along the same “ancient path followed by the emperor and the court to reach the grandiose private residence, which from the Palatine Hill gave rise to the modern meaning of the word ‘palace’.”

The new visitor experience is enhanced by Imago Imperii, an exhibition spread out along the route in 13 museum spaces whose artefacts illustrate the history of the domus over the centuries.

An added bonus to the visit are the stunning views, through the arches, over the Roman Forum.

Although named after the second Roman emperor Tiberius, who reigned after Augustus from 14 to 37 AD, archaeological studies have revealed that the building’s foundations were laid by Nero at some point after the fire of 64 AD or in tandem with the construction of the Domus Aurea.

The Domus Tiberiana was expanded further by the emperors Domitian and Hadrian, and in the eighth century Pope John VII chose the palace as his residence.

During the Middle Ages the domus drifted into a state of complete abandonment, with its building materials pillaged, until the mid-16th century when the Farnese family brought the residence back to life with their “garden of delights”.

In 1861 the site came into the hands of French emperor Napoleon III whose excavations led to the discovery of most of the ancient buildings still visible.

Further excavations were carried out during the 20th century however in the 1970s the site was closed due its instability and serious risk of collapse.

In recent years experts conducted a major programme of maintenance and restoration work which led to the site finally reopening to the public this week.

Paying tribute to the “incessant hard work” of the park’s staff and the “huge resources” that continue to be invested in the site, stated Alfonsina Russo who hailed the opening as “another important step towards the full use of the central archaeological area of Rome.”

Photos Wanted in Rome

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