Emperor Augustus’s 2,000-Year-Old Home Reopens

A fresco in Augusts's newly renovated house. Photo: Ricardo Frantz via Wikimedia Commons

After years of restoration, the houses of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia were opened to the public on Thursday, the AFP reports. Restoring of the several frescoed rooms, which were once inhabited by the emperor and his family cost a reported €2.5 million ($3.22 million). They were reopened to mark the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus’s death.

According to Rome’s archaeological superintendent Mariarosaria Barbera, the complex restoration was fraught with complications relating to bad weather, which threatened the excavation. “We had to tackle a host of problems which were all connected, from underground grottoes to sewers—and I’m talking about a sewer system stretching over 35 hectares (86 acres),” she told the news agency.

Following the expensive conservation effort, tighter restrictions on the number of visitors who can access the site at any one time have been put in place. Head restorer Cinzia Conti told the AFP that the measures were being introduced so that “restorers can keep an eye on and evaluate the consequences of the public walking through, for example the dust on their shoes and especially their breath.”

Tourists will have to book tickets in advance in order to join one of three 15-minute tours scheduled to be held daily. Each tour will allow a maximum of 20 people to pass through Emperor Augustus’s ancient home. Conti insisted that the new guidelines would give visitors “a more intimate, more attentive exploration of Augustus’s spaces.”


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