The Domus Tiberiana has re-opened after 50 years, and it’s amazing

Domus Tiberiana

1. The Palatine Hill

If you’ve been to Rome, you’ve probably been to the Palatine Hill too. Access to this gorgeous archaeological site is included in the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill tickets, and it’s one of the most popular archaeological sites in Rome. 

And, for a reason. The Palatine is the most important hill in Rome. Here, according to the legend, Romulus founded the city over 2700 years ago, on April 21st, 753 b.C.

At the slopes of the Palatine, Romulus killed his twin brother Remus, guilty of crossing the sacred boundary of the city. 

House of Augustus
House of Augustus

Later, during the republican age, the Palatine hill became the residence of the wealthiest and most influential Romans, such as Cicero and his rival Hortensius, just to name two. 

After the death of Julius Caesar, his nephew Octavian took over and became the first Roman emperor with the name of Augustus. 

Augustus – who wanted the be the “new Romulus” and re-found the city – moved to the Palatine. 

Since then, the Palatine has always been the imperial residence par excellence. 

2. The Imperial Palaces

Most of the Roman emperors after Augustus lived on the Palatine, and deeply changed the landscape of the hill. 

The Palatine Hill
The “stadium” of the Domus Flavia

Tiberius, the second emperor, built a new palace called “Domus Tiberiana, which literally means “the house of Tiberius”, as an alternative residence to the “Domus Augustanathe house of Augustus. 

In 64 A.D., Rome was almost entirely destroyed by the famous fire of Nero. 

The palaces were destroyed too, and Nero started the construction of the complex that we still see today, which was mostly built by Vespasian, Domitian, and Septimius Severus. 

Many are the beautiful buildings that you can visit during a tour of the Palatine Hill. The House of Augustus, the Domus Augustana, the Domus Flavia, the marvelous terraces that overlook the Roman Forum, the Tiber River, and the Capitoline Hill. 

Domus flavia
The Lower Peristyle of the Domus Flavia

Recently, a whole section of the hill has been re-opened after being closed for 50 years for renovations and restorations: the Domus Tiberiana

The Domus Tiberiana

Even if its name literally means “the house of Tiberius” – the second emperor – the structures we see today were mostly built by Domitian in the late 1st century A.D. 

This is the best preserved of the imperial palaces in Rome. 

During a tour of the Domus Tiberiana, you will walk through greatly preserved ancient Roman rooms and on original paved roads. 

domus tiberiana
The Domus Tiberiana

You will admire walls that stand more than 20 meters tall (over 60 feet) almost 2000 years after their construction. 

Even if the Domus Augustana and the Domus Flavia were historically more important, the Domus Tiberiana is much better preserved. 

The Domus Tiberiana will offer you a pretty accurate idea of how a Roman emperor’s life was, and it’s the place to go (together with Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli) if you’re passionate about archaeology and the life of the Roman emperors. 

Domus Tiberiana
View from the Domus Tiberiana

It’s easy to reach: if you enter the Roman Forum from the Arch of Titus, just turn left and walk towards the Farnese aviary, a lovely Renaissance building that has also been recently restored. 

Then, keeping the aviary to the left, walk straight. You will see a lovely paved road with massive arches on top. You can walk on the paved road all the way to the top of the Palatine ramp, then follow the ramp all the way to the bottom of the hill, and come out in the Roman Forum, near the Lacus Iuturnae

While the Domus Tiberiana is open to all the visitors who have a Colosseum and Roman Forum ticket, in order to visit the museum, the ramp, and the amazing church of Santa Maria Antiqua, you will need a Full-Experience ticket. But, it’s totally worth the little extra money you pay. 

If you want to discover this “new” section of the Palatine archaeological area with an expert, don’t hesitate to ask us to include it in our Classic Colosseum Tour or in our Underground Colosseum Tour.

Plenty of our guides (including our founder Giovanni) are professional archaeologists who can’t wait to show you the wonders of the Palatine.