Some time in the 7th decade of the first century, a group of artists were commissioned to paint a fresco on an incredibly important wall. Only the best will do when the art is intended for the Emperor, and when they have a reputation such as Nero's then mistakes in form or personal behaviour could be fatal. Who would be prepared for such work? I am sure all the top artists of the day were clambering over each other to be chosen. Luckily for us moderns, Emperors are much less likely to enter murderous rages.
The magnificent Domus Aurea or Golden Palace was one of Emperor Nero's residences. Some of the building was discovered by artists searching ruins for good views to sketch. Situated next to the world famous Colosseum of Rome, the ancient royal residence was buried beneath a hill by Emperor Trajan. Could this be a case of imperial jealousy? Now the majority of the palace is buried under the bustling city of Rome, however not all was covered in concrete.
Famous Renaissance artists including Raphael were able to hoist themselves into an accessible part of the building on ropes. They used the innate depictions to inspire their own pieces. More recently, a team of archaeologists were exploring the nearby vicinity. They had a hunch there was more to be found, and within little time, they had uncovered the secret chamber. The paintings on the wall had been remarkably preserved and contained much of their original vibrancy. A true feel of the first century still hung in the air.
The entire site was once a grand palace, with an artificial lake as the centrepiece. There would have been many rooms, each designed and furnished with the most exquisite materials from all over the empire. Work is ongoing to excavate the rest of the new chamber, now with just the vault currently open. Dubbed “The Room of The Sphinx”, it no doubt holds many more cultural and historical treasures to relish once finished.
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