Domus Tiberiana (House of Tiberius), Rome

Domus Tiberiana (House of Tiberius), Rome

The Domus Tiberiana, an Imperial Roman palace, once stood on the northwest corner of the Palatine Hill in ancient Rome. Its name is derived from Emperor Tiberius, who resided on the Palatine, although historical sources do not explicitly mention his construction of a palace. The Domus Tiberiana was expanded by Tiberius's successors and served as the primary residence for Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero during the early years of their reigns.

Due to the Farnese Gardens occupying the site since the 16th century, archaeological knowledge about the structure is limited, and excavation has been challenging. The remains of the Domus Tiberiana are located on the northwest corner of the Palatine Hill, facing the Velabrum and the Roman Forum below, with the Capitoline Hill visible beyond. The site covers an area of approximately 150 meters by 120 meters (492 x 394 feet) and is occupied by the Farnese Gardens platform, established in 1550 by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. The visible remnants consist of the impressive arcaded support structures on the northern slope of the hill, constructed during the reigns of Domitian, Trajan, and Hadrian.

At the Forum level, behind the Temple of Castor and Pollux, lie the ruins of a vestibule complex initiated by Domitian and completed by Hadrian. From this point, an access ramp led up the hill to the Domus Tiberiana on the summit.

The central feature of the Tiberiana was a large peristyle with arcades encircling it on all four sides. To the south of this peristyle, a double block of rooms separated by a spacious corridor was constructed, while another block of rooms stood to the north. Along the eastern side of the Tiberiana, there is a 130-meter (427-foot) long cryptoporticus from the time of Nero, displaying mosaic floors and poorly preserved frescoes. This cryptoporticus was connected to the Flavian Palace during its construction. In the southeast corner of the palace, near the Domus Livia, the remains of an elliptical basin, possibly used as a fish pond, can be found. On the southwest front, there is a portico that leads to a series of rooms believed to have housed the Praetorian Guard, as suggested by the graffiti discovered within them.

While our knowledge of the Domus Tiberiana is limited, the remaining structures provide insights into the grandeur and architectural splendor of the imperial palaces that once graced the Palatine Hill in ancient Rome.

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Domus Tiberiana (House of Tiberius) on Map

Sight Name: Domus Tiberiana (House of Tiberius)
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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