Baths of Caracalla is the ruin of ancient baths or thermae that is situated in the southeast of ancient Rome center which was located in the famous Seven Hills of Rome. Covering approximately 27 acre land area, the baths ruins are enormous buildings built by red brick. Back in the ancient Rome time, the baths consisted over 50 baths and could hold over 1600 people in one time.
History of Baths of Caracalla
The baths were built between 212 and 216 AD under the reign of Emperor Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antonius), hence the name. The idea of the baths construction, however, was coined by Septimius Severus.
For almost four centuries, the Baths of Caracalla were actively used by the citizens of Rome until Gothic War took place. When the Ostrogoths attacked, the hydraulic systems in the baths were destroyed. The baths were then opened for public for free until the 19th century. In 2009, the Baths of Caracalla were damaged by the earthquake near L’Aquila.
Just like Baths of Diocletian, Baths of Caracalla were divided into three sections, calidarium or hot bath, tepidarium or lukewarm bath, and frigidarium or cold bath. There was one more section added, natatio, which was an open air swimming pool where people swam after bath.
Baths of Caracalla was using hypocaust, which is a heating system using the heat coming from burning coal and wood. The water was flowed through Aqua Marcia, an aqueduct which was especially built for the baths. The aqueduct was then reconstructed and removed to its current place by Garbrecht and Manderscheid.
There were two levels under the main baths building. The upper level was used for water heating process while the lower one was used for drainage.
The Baths of Caracalla’s design has inspired numerous structures built in the 19th and early 20th century. Some of those structures are Pennsylvania Station in New York City and St George’s Hall in Liverpool.
There are some popular and important sculptures preserved in its site. One of them is the statue of Asclepius which is 4 meters in height. The baths was also the location where Farnese Hercules, Farnese Bull and a Soviet Social works were found. Now, those three artifacts are kept in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples.
Baths of Caracalla did not only function as thermae, but also as leisure center. In the complex, we can find gymnasiums, libraries, art galleries, gardens, and restaurants. There were two libraries in the complex, one for Greek texts and one for Latin texts.
Visiting Baths of Caracalla
Address : Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 52, 00100 Rome, Italy
Opening Hours : Tuesday to Sunday from 09.00 to 19.00
Monday from 09.00 to 14.00
Admission Fee : €6 full price
Free for citizens under 18 and over 65
Free on January 1 from 09.00 to 15.00
Because of the fragile mosaic floor and marble seats, not all areas in Baths of Caracalla can be accessed. You can reach Baths of Caracalla by Metro line B to Circo Massimo station.