- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Italian Phrases
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini
Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini Review
If you find your imagination stretching to picture Rome as it was two millennia ago, make sure to check out this "new" ancient site just a stone's throw from Piazza Venezia. As commonly done in Renaissance-era Rome, 16th-century builders filled in the ancient structures with landfill, using them as foundations for Palazzo Valentini. Unwittingly, the builders also preserved the ruins beneath, which archaeologists rediscovered in 2007 excavations. It took another three years for the two opulent, Imperial-era villas to open to the public on a regular basis.
Descending below Palazzo Valentini, which has been the seat of the Provincia of Rome since 1873, is like walking into another world. Not only are the villas luxurious and well preserved, still retaining their beautiful mosaics, inlaid marble floors, and staircases, but—unlike any other site in Rome—the ruins have been made to "come alive" through multimedia. Sophisticated light shows re-create what it all would have looked like while a dramatic, automated voiceover accompanies you as you walk through the rooms, pointing out cool finds (the heating system for the private baths, the mysterious fragment of a statue, the porcelain dumped here when part of the site became a dump in the Renaissance) and evidence of tragedy (the burn layer from a fire that ripped through the home). If it sounds corny, hold your skepticism: It's an effectively done, excellent way to actually "experience" the villa as ancient Romans would have—and learn a lot about ancient Rome in the process. A multimedia presentation halfway through also shows you what central Rome would have looked like 2,000 years ago.
The multimedia tour takes about an hour. There are limited spots, so book in advance over the phone, online, or by stopping by in person; make sure you book the English tour. The tour should be enjoyable for older children, but little ones might be afraid of how dark the rooms can be.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $2324 & up -- Italy by Rail: 8-Nt. Multi-City Trip w/Air Great Value Vacations
- $2149 -- 7-Night All-Inclusive European Cruise in Suite MSC Cruises
- $2108 & up -- Italy: 6-Nt. 3-City Escape w/Breakfast & Air — $2,108 Sceptre Tours
- $399 & up -- Fall 7-Night Mediterranean Cruises — $399 MSC Cruises
- $1399 & up -- Taste of Italy: 6-Night Escape w/Air & Taxes — $1,399 go-today
Above is a blog that I hope will be entertaining and helpful to anyone who might be interested in backpacking across the continent. This is specifically for anyone who's Read more
Hi Fodorites! Read more
If you could go anywhere in Italy for 3-5 days where would you go? Read more
· News & Features
Wineries have a very obvious main draw. ... Read more
The Aran Islands (Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer) are three small, but adventure-packed islands o... Read more
It happens all the time: you're just stopping in to grab one thing and the next thing you know, you've... Read more