The Baths of Caracalla: The Ancient Roman Spa

After all the hustle and bustle of sightseeing around Rome, I wanted to get away from tourist groups to spend some quiet time.  I met a few backpackers at the hostel who directed me to places in Rome where there are not too many people in one place at the same time.  One of these places with very few tourists around is the ancient Roman architecture called the Terme di Caracalla better known as the Baths of Caracalla.

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The Baths of Caracalla is essentially divided into 2 sections:  one inside the bath complex and one around it.  Built by Emperor Caracalla in AD 212, the magnitude of the baths were staggering and the buildings enormous.

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About 9000 workers were employed daily for five years just to create the 337 x 328 meters platform.  The baths were not just built for swimming but also as a wellness and sports venue.

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The baths were inaugurated in AD 216 but were only completed after the death of Caracalla.  The whole site was abandoned after the siege of Rome  in AD 537.

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Today, many of the walls are still several stories high giving you an idea of the scale of the establishment.

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There are informative plaques at strategic places showing the original layout.  You can also pay for an audio guide which will help you imagine what it must have been like when it was being used.

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There are quite a few mosaic floor fragments still left as well as some stonework and few frescoes.

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The Thermae Antoninianae, is considered as one of the largest and best preserved ancient thermal complexes showing the sheer ingenuity of the Roman engineers.  If you are a history and archaeology buff, walking through the ruins would be a nice respite from the crowded tourist attractions in Rome.

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The Baths are south-west of the Colisseum. To go there, I took the 160 bus from Piazza Victtorio which stopped just after the baths.  There was a small street with signs that led me to the main entrance.  I paid 6 Euros for the entrance fee (you have to pay additional 7 Euros for the audio guide).

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More than the history and the ancient archaeological ruins, I particularly enjoyed the garden area.  It is a nice place to stroll or just relax and rest as there are very few people and little or no traffic noise.  I stayed there for awhile just to get away from the tourist crowds.  It was a worthy visit.

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Categories: Europe, Italy, Rome | Tags: , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “The Baths of Caracalla: The Ancient Roman Spa

  1. One of my favorite places when I went to Rome. It’s odd that it is not nearly as well known as the Forum or Collisseum.

  2. Excellent post and pics, I have several ancient roman coins with Caracallas likeness on them..:-)

  3. Suan, what an incredible post! I’d never heard of these baths and am fascinated by the history and construction. Your photographs really show the depth and scale and those mosaics are fabulous.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thanks Dear….appreciate your comments….by the way, I am thinking of buying a new dslr camera, do you have any idea as to what is the good brand and model to buy? I am now lost with the latest tech trend.

      • Gosh I am sure not the expert by any stretch, BUT, having just done a ton of research, the two brands that most use are Nikon and Canon. Both have a range of SLRs to suit the beginner and the enthusiast.
        I found that the more research I did, the more overwhelmed I got so I narrowed it down by brand and price. I just bought a Canon 60D (on sale!).
        Good luck!

  4. Ahmed

    Nice documentation and photos 🙂 you may check the ruins of Cleopatra bath in Egypt on my blog http://thatphotothing.wordpress.com/

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