After 50 Years, a Palatine Palace Reopens

Fifty years after closing to the public, the Domus Tiberiana reopens on Rome’s Palatine Hill. The imposing structure sits above the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, inside the city’s Parco Arcaeologico del Colosseo. 

A new path brings visitors through the impressive structure where the palace’s arches frame stunning views of the ancient site below. A holographic reconstruction of the house grants visitors the opportunity to see the structure as it would have stood in history. Imperial baths and stucco paintings transport visitors and hint at the many purposes this space has served over time.

The base of the building is thought to have been laid by Tiberius, hence the name, possibly on the site of his birth. It later became the imperial home of Caligula, Claudius and Nero after the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D.- who incorporated the Domus Tiberiana into his Domus Aurea complex. Later Hadrian and Trajan left their marks on the structure and even an 8th century pope, Pope John VII resided here. The noble Farnese family later took claim of the area and used it as the site of their private gardens. After centuries of cycles of use and abandonment, badly executed excavations in the 20th century led to the ultimate closure of the site- deeming it structurally unsound. 

Starting on September 21, the palace will be illuminated at night for the entire month in a project led by ACEA, an important electricity company of the capital city. Thanks to the impressive light display, the structure will be open for evening visits as well- a nice way to beat the daytime crowds while admiring the beautiful golden light cast against this momentous structure.  

The Domus Tiberiana is accessible with the purchase of a ticket to the Roman Forum. For more information on which ticket works best for your visit, check out the Parco del Colosseo website here.  In September, the Domus Tiberiana is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with the last entrance at 6:00 p.m. In October it closes at 6:30 p.m. and in November and December closes at 4:30 p.m.

–Danielle Abbazia

Photo courtesy of anamejia18