A Walk Through Domus Romane, the Imperial Roman Homes at Palazzo Valentini
In Rome, we walk by hidden treasures everyday without giving them a second thought; however, the unassertive yet noble Palazzo Valentini’s Domus Romane is a must-see you should not ignore. The palace was built in 1585, and is nestled between the great roundabout of Piazza Venezia and the Trajan Forum. For centuries, Palazzo Valentini has been the private home of several prominent figures. It has been transformed for various occasions: as a great Imperial library beloved by art historian Johann Winckelmann, and as as a private theater to host German composer George Handel.
Today, the main floor is open again to the public and uncovers the Domus Romane, the archeological remains of homes belonging to the wealthy families of Imperial Rome. Teams of experts excavated through layers of Rome’s rich history, and created this stunning multimedia museum in 2010. The tour of the Domus Romane is a mix of history and wonder: exquisite relics of finely detailed mosaic floors to colossal marble columns, and vast kitchens to private saunas are displayed beneath your feet.
The glass floors allow you to look down into the superior archeological relics while the enchanting lighting and knowledgeable guide bring them back to life. The comprehensive tour walks you through the design of the Trajan column, as well as the history of the Roman Empire, tempting you to visit the real thing just outside.
Outside Palazzo Valentini, life on the surface becomes a modern Roman traffic jam with scooters driving by and tourists flocking to see Piazza Venezia. Yet just three feet below the palace, there is a hidden treasure that tells you a great deal more, and opens your eyes to an ancient world. The Domus Romane have adapted technology to trigger your imagination, transforming what was once exposed to the hardships of time into excessive luxuries that once adorned the Roman Empire.
After the multimedia immersion, you can visit Terre e Domus (Foro Traiano, 82), a restaurant and wine house with an itinerary focused only on the best of the best produce and wines from around Rome, managed by Men At Work, a cooperative that for years has been rehabilitating former inmates into the workforce as its mission.
Domus Romane at Palazzo Valentini
via Foro Traiano, 85 (Piazza Venezia)
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm (last entrance 3pm)
Tickets: €8-12 + 1,5 booking fee (reservation is mandatory)