Staying in Rome: the extraordinary visit to the Domus Romane of Palazzo Valentini
Through a mixture of archaeological remains and virtual reality, a visit to the ancient Roman Domus under the Palazzo Valentini in Rome offers a sense of life in the Imperial Roman era. It is therefore an unmissable experience for those who decide to stay in Rome and intend to relive the glories of what was the first world superpower.
The archaeological remains under the Palazzo Valentini in Rome have been permanently exposed to the public since the completion of the excavations in 2010. A small SPA complex dating back to the 2nd century AD was discovered seven metres below street level and precisely where there is the basement of the building which is located between Piazza Venezia and the forum of Trajan. It is believed it is part of a residential scheme found over a century ago, before the 1907 building of the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni in Piazza Venezia.
The excavations of the Domus are now a permanent exhibition that enriches the historical and artistic heritage of Rome, thanks to the discoveries that have allowed us to reconstruct an important part of the topography of the ancient, medieval and modern city.
Palazzo Valentini and the underground Domus
Palazzo Valentini, located in Piazza Venezia in Rome, allows access to the Domus Romane discovered underground and, from a structural point of view, it is in itself very interesting both from an architectural and historical point of view. The building actually is characterised by the large door on whose sides extend two groups of three windows. In addition to that, there are lintels, railings and the door itself is delimited by two travertine columns on whose end you can admire a large balcony with balustrade. In the inner part of Palazzo Valentini, there is a vast courtyard with a porch on two orders consisting of five arches on the shorter sides and nine on the long ones, divided by pilasters of typical Doric style, all surrounded by very ancient statues including that Ulysses created by the sculptor Ugo Attardi, Enea, Europa and Anchise works instead created by Sandro Chia which are located at the entrance of the courtyard. The works of Palazzo Valentini began at the end of the 16th century and were part of the project drawn up by Cardinal Michele Bonelli regarding the extensive development of the area around the Roman Forum. In 1873, the palace became property and seat of the provincial government of Rome, and today it houses a library founded in 1912 and which contains valuable guide books from the 16th and 17th centuries, literary works, reports of archaeological studies and manuscripts.
An extraordinary three-dimensional experience in the Roman Domus
If during a stay in some accommodation in Rome or in the surrounding areas such as in a B&B, a hotel or a holiday home you intend to visit the capital at 360 degrees, you must not miss an extraordinary visit to the Roman Domus under the Palace Valentini. It actually is an archaeological site that, thanks to modern technological means, proposes a three-dimensional representation of the rooms in a completely restored environment in order to make clear how the site was two millennia ago, in the area below the current Palazzo Valentini. Moreover, it is important to highlight that in the Rome of the Renaissance, the builders filled the old structures with waste materials using in the case of the Domus its large space as a landfill. This very common practice at that time and not only in Rome, unconsciously allowed to preserve the underlying ruins that archaeologists rediscovered during excavations in 2007.
The virtual tour in the Roman Domus
The panoramic route through the remains of the imperial age that once belonged to powerful families, is rich in mosaics, wall decorations, polychrome floors, paving stones and other archaeological remains. The excavations have been further improved with virtual reconstructions, graphics and videos. Visitors therefore have the possibility to admire walls, rooms, peristyles (porches with columns), kitchens, bathrooms, furnishings and decorations that come back to life, while the ruins of these great Domus of ancient Rome are completed and animated by amazing projections and lighting effects. Through a mixture of archaeological remains, restored bathrooms and virtual reality, visitors can therefore experience the lifestyle that was lived in the imperial era. The walls of the Domus are decorated with mosaics and murals and the rooms are full of artifacts in common use by the Romans, which within an hour can be admired with a 3-D recreation of the area that allows you to understand what it would be like appeared in Rome in imperial times and in particular in this place under Palazzo Valentini in Rome.
The multimedia tour in the Roman Domus
Going down to Palazzo Valentini is like entering another world. Not only luxurious and well-preserved houses, but the ruins have been animated through multimedia. Sophisticated light shows actually recreate what this would have been like in the imperial era, while an off-screen voice accompanies you when you walk around the rooms indicating interesting discoveries (the heating system for private bathrooms, the mysterious fragment of a statue, the porcelain left when part of the site became a rubbish dump during the Renaissance) and evidence of the tragedy (the layer burned by a fire that ripped through the house). As just said, visiting the Domus Romane is an effective and excellent way to really "live" the houses as the ancient Romans would have done and to learn a lot about ancient Rome. The multimedia tour lasts about an hour and is limited in number, so if you are interested in this extraordinary visit during a stay in Rome and its surroundings, the advice is to book in advance by phone, online or in person. Make sure to choose the daily tour in Italian and warn your children that some rooms may be dark at the behest of the technicians of the 3D systems just to create special lighting effects. Enjoy this wonderful experience in the Roman subsoil, to appreciate even more what has been one of the most prosperous civilizations of all time.
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