The Associated Press reported that the ceiling of Roman Emperor Nero’s Golden Palace unexpectedly collapsed on Tuesday, but fortunately, no one was injured, as the collapsed area is currently closed for restoration. Officials believe heavy rains in Rome caused the partial collapse, reported BBC News. The damaged area, which measured roughly 645 square feet, is located in the tunnels in the Hadrian’s Bath section of the palace, on top of the House of Gold. In 1999, the palace was reopened after an 18-year closure due to concerns regarding its structural stability, but the palace is still plagued with structural problems and water damage. This week’s incident revisits the decades-old concerns over the palace’s structural integrity.
The nearly 2,000-year-old palace was completed in 68 AD, the same year that Emperor Nero committed suicide, and was named the Gold Palace for the abundance of gold leaf that covered its ceilings. Spanning almost 200 acres throughout Rome’s ancient hills, the palace lay buried and forgotten until Renaissance scholars discovered it 500 years ago. The Domus Aurea, as the palace is called in Latin, is located between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, and its frescoed halls and reputation of ancient affluence and elegance attract many tourists and visitors. — Elaine Murphy