After the Press conference on 18 June 2014 at which we presented the Definitive Project for the new park above the Domus Aurea, we continued with the Pilot Worksite for the construction of the first of the 22 basins of the Integrated Protection System.
We have had direct experience on several occasions over the past few years of the detrimental effects of torrential rains in Rome and, more specifically, the hindrances caused to the good progress of work inside the monument by the most recent “cloud burst” last February. This forced us to suspend the worksites for safety reasons and has led to the decision to implement a “Provisional drainage layer”, designed by Vincenzo Angeloro, the hydraulic engineer of the main “Domus Aurea Project” design team, with the collaboration of our staff (in particular Maurizio Pesce, the Technical Coordinator for the monument). This intervention aims to protect the Domus from severe weather events during this extremely delicate phase of its consolidation, considering the long time (at least 4 years) before the definitive project is completed.
During the summer holiday period, we tried to protect the area from the camps set up by homeless people in the park above with a night watch service. However, despite numerous evacuations by the police and the constant maintenance of the fence, which is cut every evening, the situation had not improved when work began. We are confident that when the new fence is built and work is extended to cover the whole of the park, this situation will be definitively resolved.
In the meantime, work inside is proceeding – especially the structural consolidation of the western sector, in the so-called former Little Barracks and Access Gallery 18. We have begun to secure the decorations of Room 116, one of the few to be preserved intact, including its mosaic floor.
We are also in the process of designing new projects which will begin the tender process before the end of the year, in order to plan our work for next year. We have updated the state of progress and the expenditure situation.
I feel compelled to intervene in the debate triggered by Valentini’s article “Tutti i no delle Soprintendenze…” “All the Refusals of the Soprintendenze”) (here and here: in Italian) that appeared in La Repubblica last Sunday. I do so not to defend a professional category nor to argue in favour of safeguard and its history in Italy; others who are more authoritative and knowledgeable than me have already done so.
The first month of 2014 has seen an important new intervention.
After the experiment already carried out at a smaller scale, we are about to open the pilot worksite in a vast area above the West Wing,
The whole staff of the Domus Aurea Worksite wish you all a Merry Christmas and especially a Happy New Year to all our readers and … to the Domus Aurea
Since we have published the new tables on economic flows of funds for the works to secure the monument, we are also providing a short update on the current state of works and projects. Continue reading
After several months of work by a group of conservators, we are about to complete the intervention to secure the decorations of the Great Cryptoporticus which delimits the East Wing of the Domus to the north.
In April, activities inside the monument were halted by the very heavy and prolonged rains that forced us to stop consolidation work on both structures and decorated surfaces.
The very high degree of humidity and the spread of percolation phenomena inside did not allow us to work effectively and made it difficult for the specialized workers, technicians and restorers to spend long periods inside the rooms.
After the rains, very heavy and prolonged this year, spring has returned to the Domus Aurea. The conservators and archaeologists can go back to taking their break between 12 and 1 in the garden in front of the monument, warming up before going back inside. At this time of year, the difference in temperature and humidity between inside and outside is very noticeable. You could say that it is still winter inside.
We have recently been working hard to organize the new works and in particular to prepare the projects to appropriate the funds which are still available. The procedures specified in the Code of Public Contracts both for direct commissions under the permitted limit and for tenders are fairly complex and require that we respect very specific phases and time frames. This means that the time that passes between the development of a project and the start of work is relatively long.
On Wednesday 23 January, we met at the Domus; it was raining heavily and this always worries us because of percolation into the interior and the safety of the workers. Luckily, in the late morning the sky cleared and the sun came out. During the first half of the morning our meeting concerned the progress of the project for the new layout of the park area above the monument.