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The Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla

The thermal baths in ancient Rome

A large part of the daily routine in ancient Rome involved thermal baths. It was not only a matter of taking care of the body, but also an important social moment in a common place which had all the necessary comforts. The emperor and the ruling class started to build these public baths, which were open to all social classes. The purpose simply to please the population, to provide amusement that distracted them from the most important and most serious problems in the city.

The therms (in Latin: “Thermae”) were, indeed, not only baths, but also gyms (in Latin “palestrae”) furnished for different physical exercises, as well as bookshops where people could study and gardens for walking in the green.

The Caracalla thermal baths

“The Caracalla thermal baths” is one of the best examples of thermal baths: a wonderful place of leisure designed by the emperor Septimius Severus, who is responsible for starting the work.

In 216 A.C. his son Marco Aurelio Severo Antonino Augusto, better known as Caracalla, saw the end of the work.

From the famous thermal baths, it is possible to reconstruct the former decorations. There were enormous marble columns, coloured oriental marbles, mosaics, statues and colossal groups in the recesses of the walls, in the important rooms and in the gardens.

The Caracalla thermal baths could accommodate six to eight thousand people a day and were decorated with many pieces of art; most of them can still be admired today.