Rome fetes Augustus by opening up his home

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected]
Rome fetes Augustus by opening up his home

A series of events have been announced to mark the 2,000th anniversary this month of the death of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor - an event that gave the month of August its name.


Augustus, the founder of the imperial dynasty and a powerful reformer, ruled for 41 years from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.

Culture Minister Dario Francheschini announced on Tuesday that several places associated with Augustus will be opened to the public for the first time in years, as a way of marking the anniversary.

Augustus, who was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar, is associated with the “Pax Romana,” a period of immense architectural and artistic achievement.

The month of August received its name to commemorate his death.

A restored ground floor will be unveiled at the Palatine Museum on the Palatine Hill, where Augustus made his home. A film on the emperor’s life will also be shown at the museum.

Rooms so far excavated in the House of Augustus will also be opened for the first time, while the House of Livia, which was built for Augustus’s third wife, has also been restored.

Darius Arya, a US archaeologist who heads up the American Institute for Roman Culture, told The Local that visitors to the House of Augustus will also get to see the room in which the emperor dined as well as some of the bedrooms.

“People will be very impressed,” he added.

Frescoes at the triclinium, an underground dining area, will also be put on display for the first time.

Meanwhile, a restored swimming pool at the Baths of Dicoletian, the grandest of the public baths, and a room displaying artefacts from the baths, will open from September 24th, according to news agency ANSA.

From October 1st, visitors to the Roman Forum will be able to walk the ancient path from the Vico Jugario to Basilica Giulia, an area closed to the public in the 1980s for restoration.

Visitors, however, will not get the chance to see what is perhaps Augustus’s most famous monument: the Mausoleum.

Restoration of the monument has lagged after the original €4 million budget was halved and Rome authorities are now thought to be touting for a sponsor.

“It’s such a beautiful building but in bad weather, it does get water-logged,” Arya said.

“It would have been great to have had it restored in time for the anniversary, and would have given Rome something to really brag about.”

Other events are also planned across Italy and in other countries.


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