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Hidden “Sphinx Room” discovered in Nero’s palace

Rome nero-palace

Archaeologists attempting to restore Emperor Nero’s palace in Rome have accidentally discovered a secret underground room decorated with colourful animal frescoes.

The walls of the chamber in the bowels of Domus Aurea – the Golden House – was found adorned with depictions of panthers, centaurs and a sphinx.

Experts stumbled upon the space quite by chance while mounting scaffolding late last year, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Alfonsina Russo, the head of the Colosseum archaeological park in which the Golden House resides, said it was “an exceptional and thrilling find”.

He said the restoration team had decided to call the chamber the “Sphinx Room” after one of the most striking frescoes, although the walls also feature aquatic creatures, exotic birds and the god Pan.