Rome seeks funds to restore Nero's palace

The Domus Aurea was a symbol of wealth and power in ancient Rome.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   June 20, 2014 at 3:26 PM

ROME , June 20 (UPI) -- The city of Rome has begun an appeal to find $42.5 million to restore the former palace of Emperor Nero, which currently sits under an amusement park.

Requests to help rebuild ancient Roman sites have become common, with Saudi princes and business entrepreneurs donating funds to restore significant architecture to former glory. Archeologists of Italy's cultural heritage ministry announced Wednesday it intends to remove the amusement park and remove hundreds of tons of soil currently burying the Domus Aurea, the "Golden House" or palace of Nero (37-68 AD), who was Rome's emperor from 54 AD to 68 AD and left a reputation for lavish living.

"The state has very limited resources, unfortunately," said Dario Franceschini, the minister for cultural heritage. "This is an opportunity for a big company to sponsor an extraordinary project, which will capture the world's attention. It would be scandalous if no one comes forward."

A team of 70 specialists has already restored the interior of the palace, a three-year project, and removed calcium deposits covering frescoes depicting gods, goddesses and Roman nobles at banquets. Also discovered were holes in the ceiling in which people lowered themselves, years later, into the palace to survey it.

Renaissance painters, including Michelangelo, Raphael and Pinturicchio, were among those who left graffiti and their signatures.

The funding will be partly dedicated to constructing a specially-designed garden above the palace to stop water dripping downward.

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