About Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla in Italian) are an ancient Roman public baths complex in Rome, the incredible remains of which are one of the very best ancient sites in Rome.
History of the Baths of Caracalla
It was the Emperor Septimius Severus who began building the Baths of Caracalla in 206 AD, but they are named after his son, the emperor Caracalla, who completed the works in 216 AD.
Comprised of a vast compound of red-brick buildings, the Baths of Caracalla would, like all ancient Roman baths, have been used for a variety of social functions and could accommodate thousands of visitors at any one time. As well as being where people gathered and bathed, the Baths of Caracalla would have had shops, libraries and galleries as well as other leisure facilities.
Used until they were destroyed by the Goths in the 6th century AD, they Baths of Caracalla were later exploited for their marble. However, due to their position slightly outside the centre of the city, the baths were never built over and have therefore survived in good condition.
The Baths of Caracalla today
Today, the hugely impressive remains of the Baths of Caracalla still offer a great insight into what would have been a social hub of the ancient Roman world. With the original walls still towering above and impressive black and white mosaics underfoot this amazing ancient ruin is one of the best preserved of its kind anywhere in the world. Audio guides are available to help explain the various rooms and chambers which can be explored.
However, the fun doesn’t stop there. For it is the recently opened underground sections which will really set your heart racing. An innocuous staircase will take you deep below ground to the tremendously well preserved tunnels and corridors which represent the unseen heart of this complex – where slaves and other workers would have scurried about to keep the waters heated and the customers happy.
Another hidden gem to be found in this underground wonder is one of the best examples of a Temple of Mithras to have survived today. Still containing the original mosaics and alter space this temple is a wonder in its own right.
Getting to the Baths of Caracalla
The bath complex is in the south of central Rome: it’s a 5 or so minute walk from Circo Massimo metro stop to the baths, or a 20 minute walk to the mainline station Roma Porta S. Paolo. Bus route 160 stops nearby on Baccelli.
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