Series – When In Rome
Perhaps our most favorite, most incredible experience during our time in Rome was our small group tour of Emperor Augustus Caesar’s and Empress Livia Drusilla’s palatial homes atop Palatine Hill. From these two domiciles, with their lavishly adorned rooms and dramatic frescos, the Emperor and his third wife reigned over ancient Rome.
Come along with us for a rare glimpse into their private domains, both of which date back to the 1st Century BC. Explore the remains of majestic elegance that once decorated the halls of the Roman Empire’s first ruling couple. Enter into an incredible site of ancient Roman history that until just recently, was only open to archeologists and historians!
Inside Ancient Casa di Augusto
Welcome to the home of the Roman Empire’s very first emperor! Though the home’s original structure predates Augustus’ occupation, his transformation of it from a small, modest home into his grand private retreat atop Palatine Hill is nothing short of spectacular.
Evidence of the home’s former grandeur begins immediately upon crossing the threshold of the climate controlled entrance. It exists around every corner, from the ceilings high above, to the colorful murals upon the walls, and on down to the mosaic floors upon which they walked.
Continue forward as ancient Roman history springs back to life right before your eyes. Notice the stunning marbled details of a pilar leaning up against the wall. Take note of reliefs delicately carved into ancient ceiling moldings laying strewn about the palace floor.
Follow along the path, beyond the entranceway and on into the depths of Rome’s first emperor’s living quarters. Imagine the amount of work required by the artisans to put together these mosaics, murals and marbled reliefs.
Step up to 2000 year old fresco paintings with original colors so well preserved, they appear about as colorful today as the day they were painted. Augustus Caesar employed Rome’s best painters to create these stunning theatre scenes, masks and columns. Notice the level of depth perception they were able to create!
Stand at the edge of an ancient room, pondering its purpose. Though the passing of time may have faded the fresco’s colors, the details remain for all to see what the emperor, his wife, and their chosen elite also once saw.
Gaze upon walls adorned with splendid hues of bright yellows, reds and blues. Though dulled with age, not nearly as bright as when created, these frescos still tell their stories of long long ago. It’s hard to imagine that the frescos are much as they were 2000 years ago!
Peer into Caesar’s personal study, meticulously reclaimed from its ancient past. Just as it was during his reign, few are authorized to enter within these walls. Examine at a distance the beautiful details of his private domain. A mere photograph does not do this room justice!
Take note of a nearby archway, where mosaics of once incredible detail remain where placed centuries before. Though quite worn with age, these mosaics attest to the opulence that once adorned the walls. It remains apparent still today, that this was the home of an esteemed Roman emperor.
Inside Palatial Casa di Livia
As grand as Emperor Augustus Caesar’s private home was, equally as grand, perhaps more grand, and certainly much larger, was the home he built for his third and last wife, Livia.
Look up, down, and all around as our journey continues through halls Empress Livia once strolled. Complete with incredibly detailed frescos, tall arches and marbled dome ceilings, this home was a testament to Augustus’ love for Livia, an homage to the love of his life.
Notice the minute details of centuries-old frescos painted on the walls. Many have withstood the test of time, allowing today’s visitors to Livia’s home a glimpse into the lives of Rome’s ancient elite. The artists’ finesse and talent is evident for all to see upon these walls!
Step to the edge of the stunning remains of yet another once-ornately adorned private room. Though aged by the centuries, one can still see the bright and colorful motifs painted upon the walls, the intricate and fine details still apparent in the artistic stylizations.
Stop and ponder these wonderful ancient frescos, and the life that once went about here. Imagine how impressive the frescos must have been when Emperor Augustus and Empress Livia might have once strolled past, arm in arm, conversing about the day’s events.
Equally impressive are the floor mosaics, still in place despite centuries of wear and tear. Imagine 1st Century BC Romans painstakingly cutting and piecing together one tiny mosaic at a time to create these magnificent works of ancient art.
Though sometimes cracked in places, sometimes with chunks chipped off over the years, the once marvelous detailing is still apparent upon these walls. Oh the stories these amazing frescos and tiled floors could tell of an ancient time!
What’s Your Favorite Rome Adventure?
Our tour of Emperor Augustus Caesar’s and Empress Livia’s homes was amazing! We chose Walks of Italy’s VIP Caesar’s Palace Tour with Colosseum and Roman Forum for our experience because of its small group size, skip-the-line entry access into the colosseum, and the VIP limited access inside the palaces of Ancient Rome’s ruling couple. Our guide was perhaps one of the best guides we’ve toured with.
How about you? Have you been inside Emperor Augustus Caesar’s ancient Roman home? How likely are you to seek out this same experience when you are in Rome? What was your favorite experience in Rome? Do share!
Want to learn more about our adventures around Rome? Check out my other posts here!
- 5 Fabulous Days in Rome – Family Adventures in the Eternal City
- Inside the Roman Colosseum – Up Close with Ancient Architecture
- A Photographic Exploration of Rome’s Ancient Forum & Palatine Hill
- Biking The Ancient Appian Way – A Family Adventure
- Vatican City in One Day – 7 Top Tips to Maximize Your Time
Note: I received complimentary VIP tour admission from Walks of Italy. All opinions are my own. Read more about Walks of Italy at 5 Favorite Reasons to Explore Rome with Walks of Italy.
All images by C.Biederman.