The ancient Roman imperial palace, perched atop the Palatine Hill, reopened to tourists on Thursday (September 21), almost 50 years after it closed for restoration.
The Palace of Tiberius or Domus Tiberianus, estimated to be 2,000 years old, was the home of the rulers of the ancient city during the Roman Empire. The expansive palace offers stunning views of the Roman Forum below.
For the last 50 years, it has been under restoration – that’s how long it took restorers to strengthen the palace and make it safe for visitors. The excavations also uncovered many ancient Roman artifacts.
Although the domus, or residence, is named after the Roman Emperor Tiberius, archaeological research dates the palace to slightly later Nero’s reign. It is believed that its construction began shortly after the Great Fire of Rome, which occurred in 64 AD and burned 11 of the 14 quarters of the capital of the Roman Empire.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the residence lay abandoned for centuries until the noble Farnese family created an extensive garden around the ruins in the 1500s.
The domus, built on the northwestern slope of the hill, is considered the first true imperial palace. In addition to the emperor’s residence, the complex included gardens, places of worship, quarters for the Praetorian Guard who protected the ruler, and a service area for workers overlooking the Roman Forum.
The excavations and restoration work, also carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic when tourism was minimal for months, helped archaeologists piece together the centuries-old history of a site that had lain neglected for many years.
Visitors to the reopened palace will be able to admire a selection of hundreds of recovered artifacts, including metal and glass objects. As well as statues, jewelry, and ancient coins.