The Vigna Barberini site, where the show will be staged, takes its name from its previous use as a vineyard owned by the famous Barberini family of Rome, cultivated between 1600 and 1700. It covers the part of the Domus Aurea which stands upon Palatine Hill. It is here that in 2009, archaeologists unearthed the remains of Coenatio Rotunda, Nero’s legendary Domus Aurea dining hall which revolved day and night, imitating the movements of the Earth. Originally, the "Domus Aurea" Imperial Palace built by Nero also extended onto the Oppio and Celio hills, with around 70 hectares of covered buildings, with the entire palace spanning a total of 250 hectares. This area also included the lake upon which, fifty years later, the Flavian Amphitheatre – better known around the world as the Coliseum – was built.

Doomed to destruction and burial as a result of the "damnatio memoriae" imposed upon its creator, the remains of the Domus Aurea remained hidden until the Renaissance. The extraordinary summer pavilion survived to this day: 153 separate spaces, 12 metres in height, and an area of around 30,000 square metres of surfaces decorated with incredibly beautiful stucco and frescoes, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to public funding by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the donations of private citizens, almost 75% of the archaeological remains have been restored so far, and a number of works are in progress to finish restoring this amazing building to its former glory.

 

PATH LEADING TO THE DOMUS ARENA
(VIGNA BARBERINI)

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