The conservation works to be carried out in the north-western area of the Domus Aurea, aimed at tackling the two main objectives of intervention on the monument, are now underway.
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When we took on the job of consolidating and conserving Room 34 of the Domus Aurea, the tasks and difficulties to be tackled seemed fairly circumscribed.
The morphology of the archaeological monument, and the complexity and number of consolidation interventions – planned and underway – entail a need for particularly careful health and safety management in accordance with the most stringent current legislation (Italian legislative decree no. 81/08, no. 106/09 as amended).
From 2006, the East Wing of the Domus Aurea, centred around the famous Octagonal Room, was the site of works undertaken by the Commissioner appointed to urgently secure the Domus Aurea by Directive no. 3541 of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of 18 August 2006. After a research and planning phase, the first consolidation interventions (1st batch) began in 2010. These works, directed by the Commissioner L. Marchetti, entailed consolidating vertical walls and jack arches, alongside structural and microclimatic monitoring, concentrated in the East Wing of the monument. With the Directive of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers no. 4017 of 25 April 2012 the state of emergency ceased and responsibility for the whole monument and its management, with the remaining funds, was returned to the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, which in the meantime had continued to work in the West Wing as well as acting to safeguard the monument.
The conservation work to be carried out in the West Wing, and specifically in the north-western corner of the Domus Aurea, are aimed at tackling the two main goals of intervention on the monument:
- structural consolidation;
- the overall isolation of the area to minimize heat transfer with the outside, and thus protect and thermally stabilize the surface layers of the fresco paintings decorating most of the rooms of the Domus.