Baths of Caracalla
Terme di Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome
The Emperor Septimius Severus began with the construction of a gigantic bath complex in A.D. 206, which was opened in 216 by the Emperor Caracalla. The great leisure facilities offered space for approximately 1,500 people and were a centre of social life in Rome. After a hot bath, steam room and cold pool people had massages and occupied themselves with sports or relaxed in the gardens and relaxation areas. The ticket prices were so low that even the poorest urban residents could afford a spa stay.
Unique in the Baths of Caracalla was the underground circulating heating system. Over a vast underground tunnel, wood for heating was transported by horse and cart to the site. 1,000 tons of wood were needed per day for bathing. After the Goths destroyed the aqueducts around the city of Rome in 537, the baths were closed and fell into disrepair. Like many other ancient sites, the Baths of Caracalla were used as a quarry for the surrounding churches and buildings and today only ruins remain. The mighty pillars and walls still give an idea of the huge size. In the summer months, opera performances take place in front of this stunning setting.