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The Domus Aurea worksite opened on Sunday 26 October!

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We have worked hard, but are extremely pleased with the result. On Sunday morning before 9, the first visitors were already outside the gate. They didn’t have long to wait: after putting on their yellow hard hats they entered for the first visit at 9.15, accompanied by their guides. The same scene was repeated throughout Sunday: all the visits were sold out and many of the visitors were foreign. We have a feeling that our objective of opening the monument/worksite to the general public was a good idea. The visitors were certainly impressed by the Domus Aurea, for its magnificence and the fascination that in spite of everything it has exerted since the Renaissance, but they were also very attentive to the problems that we face during our rehabilitation work, explained along the route. Continue reading

Press Kit for Conference on 24 October 2014

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DOMUS AUREA PROJECT

OPENING TO THE PUBLIC OF THE WORKSITE

The Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma is opening the Domus Aurea Worksite with guided tours.

The aim of this initiative is to raise public awareness of the complex project to consolidate and maintain the most famous imperial palace in the history of ancient Rome.

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An Update on Work and Projects

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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.

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On the Refusals of the Soprintendenze

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.

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An Update After the Bad Weather

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We have not been able to update our information on the Worksite: unfortunately, the unusually heavy rains in early February forced us to suspend operations since it was impossible to work safely inside the monument. However, between 2 and 4 February we were able to complete the erection of the large provisional hangar underneath which the excavation of the garden has begun as part of the first Pilot Worksite to rehabilitate the upper part of the Domus.

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