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Caracalla Baths of Ancient Rome

Termi di Caracalla

The Caracalla Baths or Caracalla Therme is one of the largest ancient Roman ruins besides the Colosseum.

Emperor Caracalla opened the Baths of Caracalla in 217AD. They were supplied with water from the Anotonine Acqueduct.

The baths of Caracalla or Terme di Caracalla covered an area of about 27 acres and could hold up to 1600 people at one time! Vaults, porticos and gymnasiums were built with huge columns and arches covered in marble and beautiful mosaic floors.

Caracall Therme
by Marcok

The baths were in use until the Goths, an east Germanic tribe, destroyed the acqueducts in the 6th century.

The remains seen now include a 2 story roofless building bordered by ruined walls. The majesty and size are still very impressive.

Caracalla Baths Mosaics

Some original decoration, pieces of mosaic and marble floor can be found in the ruins. Any statues or treasures found here have been placed in museums.

Drawing of the Baths of Caracalla

Baths of Caracalla drawing with rooms

A-Calidarium (hot bath)
B-Nymphaeum
C-Great Hall
D-Frigidarium (Swimming Pool)
E-Courts
G-Palaestra (gym for boxing)
H-Lecture Halls
I-Vestibules
L-Dressing Rooms
N-Steam Baths
Q-Lounges
S-Gymnasia
T-Study Rooms
V-Nymphaea


Life in Ancient Rome Baths of Caracalla

To get an idea of what life was like for those who visited the Caracalla Baths in ancient Rome, here is an exerpt from Lanciani's Ancient Rome...

Let us follow one of the elegant youths of Rome into one of the great thermae. He is welcomed at his entrance by the ostiarium, or poter, a tall majestic fellow with a sword at his side, and by the capsarius, or wardrobe-keeper, who takes charge of his wraps. Then follows a general salutation and kissing of friends, exchange of the last topics and scandals of the day; reading of the newspapers, or acta diurna. The visitor then selects the kind of bath which may suite his particular case - cold, tepid, warm, shower, or perspiration bath. The bath over, the real business begins, as, for example, taking a constitutional up and down the beautiful grounds, indulging in athletci sports or simple gymnastics to restore circulation, and to prepare himself for the delights of the table.

The luxurious meal finished, the gigantic club-hosue could supply him with every kind of amusement: libraries, concerts, literary entertainments, reading of the latest poems or novels, popular or Barnum-like shows, conversation with the noblest and most beautiful women. Very often a second bath was taken to prepare for the evening meal. All this could be done by three or four thousan persons at one and the same time, without confusion or delay, because of the great number of servants and slaves attached to the establishment.

What an interesting peek into what life was like. This widespread life of luxury and leisure is said to be one of the main causes of the decline and fall of Rome.


Caracalla Baths Guide

  • Hours: Tuesdays - Saturdays 9am - 6pm (October - March until 3pm); Sundays and Mondays 9am - 1pm
  • Admission: 6 euro
  • Transportation: Buses 90 & 93
  • Summer Opera and Ballet: Teatro dell'Opera has opera and ballet performances outdoors, under the stars at the ruins of Terme di Caracalla

Map of Caracalla Baths or Caracalla Therme

Other Best of Rome Italy pages you might find interesting:

I hope this information on the Caracalla Baths is useful in planning your Rome Italy vacation.

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