Explore Real "Underground" Rome: 5 Ruins You Can't Miss

Neros Domus Aurea (Golden House)
Nero's Domus Aurea (Golden House) | © Flickr/Carole Raddato
Livia Hengel

Although many remnants of ancient Rome stand proudly on display around the city, many more ruins lay dormant underground, unbeknownst to visitors. The street level in ancient Rome was significantly lower than what it is today (in some places up to 10 meters, or 30 feet) meaning most of the original houses, baths and temples became buried over the years as new structures were continuously built on top. Check out these fascinating ruins that have remained intact over the centuries and offer a glimpse into the lives of the Ancient Romans.

Domus Aurea

Emperor Nero‘s Domus Aurea, Golden House, was the grandest villa built in Roman civilization. Located on Palatine Hill, it had gold leaf detailing, elaborate stucco ceilings, semi-precious stones and many frescoes; later, the frescoes would inspire Renaissance artists such as Raphael who reproduced the techniques within the Vatican Museums. Today, much of the vast Domus Aurea still remains underground, primarily beneath the Baths of Trajan, but a portion of the excavated rooms can be visited on weekends since restoration work is still ongoing. Each tour gives insight into Emperor Nero’s life as well as the excavation and restoration process involved in revitalizing Rome’s many ruins.

Tickets: €10 full

Domus Aurea, Via della Domus Aurea 1, Rome, Italy, +39 06 0608


Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article