Baths of Diocletian
Terme di Diocleziano
The Baths of Diocletian in Rome
With a size of 370 x 320 metres, the Baths of Diocletian were the largest baths in Rome. In A.D. 305 the Emperor Diocletian used an army of 35,000 slaves, the majority among them Christians, to built the baths in the north of the city to erect a monument like his predecessor Caracalla. For more than 200 years, the baths provided for the varied needs of the Roman upper class until the Goths destroyed the aqueducts in 538 and the water dried up. The sprawling complex fell into disrepair and was partly used for new purposes. Thus, the churches San Bernado alle Terme and Santa Maria degli Angeli were built on the ruins. The latter was designed by Michelangelo in the 16th Century, who integrated the hall of the former tepidarium into the plan and architecturally completed it. The large open-air swimming pool in the central church hall and the swimming pool in the choir are still recognizable. Michelangelo left the gigantic vault unadorned, not to distract from the ancient architecture. Throughout the transept of the church runs a 44-metre-long bronze Meridian that indicated noon hour for all the churches in Rome until 1870.