High-Tech Tyrant: Take a 3D Tour of Roman Emperor Nero’s First Palace

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The statue of Roman Emperor Nero is pictured during the exibition "Nero" in Rome on April 11, 2011

The first residence of Rome’s most infamous emperor is now available for virtual visits.

Remains of the actual estate will open to the public after the summer, but the city of Rome has recently inaugurated a new exhibition that looks into the controversial emperor’s past, and for the occasion it launched a virtual 3D display of the villa.

The Domus Transitoria — Latin for temporary house — was built in 60 A.D, but it burned down in a fire only four years later. (How’s that for temporary!) It was later replaced by the Domus Aurea (‘golden house’).

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Nero has a tainted reputation mostly thanks to Tacitus, one of the most prominent Roman the historian and senator, who was his sworn enemy. The famed tyrant became emperor at the young age of 17 and reigned until his suicide at the age of 31, when, surprise, the senate deposed him.

“Written record is heavily against Nero and often describes him as a sadistic killer,” Rossella Rea, the director of the Colosseum and one of the curators of the exhibition told Discovery News, but most historians now conclude that he wasn’t a particularly cruel tyrant.

It turns out that rumors of Nero playing his lyre while Rome burns are greatly exaggerated. See pictures of Nero’s palace at Discovery News.

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