Experts say trees behind decay of Nero's palace

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 5:48 p.m.

ROME — Experts say they've discovered how to rescue Nero's underground Golden Palace from further decay and eventually reopen the ruins of the ancient emperor's entertainment complex to the public: uproot the trees in the park above it.

Archaeologists and restoration experts said Wednesday that research, including digital simulations, aimed at solving the Domus Aurea's chronic humidity problems indicates that removing the trees will help prevent further damage.

Tree roots and rainwater sink into the walls, damaging frescoes and causing parts of the ceiling to fall off.

“It's a radical choice, but we have to do it,” said Fedora Filippi, director of the restoration effort. “It's either the roots or the Golden Palace.”

She said flowers, which have less-invasive roots, could be planted after the trees are removed.

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