It is likely going to be another four years before the Domus Aurea in Rome can be reopened to the public. The announcement was made on Wednesday by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, who also said he hoped some private company would step in to provide some of the needed funding for restoration work, which would cost an estimated 31 million euros (recently, fashion companies Tod's and Fendi have provided millions of euros to the restoration of the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain respectively).
The Domus has been closed since 2005, when stones fell from flaking walls and a high level of dangerous seepage was detected, trying to make it more stable. Through the years, parts of the famous complex, one of Rome’s most visited sites, have collapsed following heavy rains, and the site’s commissioner has said that more collapses are possible, adding that the situation is of extreme alert.
Archaeologists said that research has shown that removing the trees in the park that sits atop Nero's underground Golden Palace would help prevent further damage: tree roots would no longer sink into the walls, damaging frescoes and causing parts of the ceiling to fall off.
The Domus Aurea was built by emperor Nero after the great fire of Rome in 64 AD destroyed the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Palatine Hill. When it was completed, it stretched for 50 hectares and covered most of the Palatine and Celian hills.