Visitors to Rome should not miss out on seeing the Baths of Caracalla: Ancient Rome’s most luxurious baths. It is one of the largest and best preserved ancient thermal complexes. The baths were completed in 216 AD, during the reign of Emperor Caracalla. The sheer size of the structure is impressive, with heights reaching almost 100 feet (30 meters). During its glory days the baths were extensively decorated with fountains, marble floors and columns, statues, and mosaics. Glass mosaics reflected the sun to create a dazzling effect. Most of the artwork that was salvaged is now on display on the Naples National Archaeological Museum. Two granite stone basins from the complex have been turned in to fountains at Rome’s Piazza Farnese.
The baths were designed to make it easy for people to move in and out. This was essential, as 6,000-8,000 people used the complex on a daily basis. It was the social and cultural center of Imperial Rome hosting a variety of activities: socializing, gossiping, walking the gardens, receiving body treatments, exercising in they gym, taking a sauna, swimming, reading or studying in the libraries and eating in the restaurants – all at a modest price.
The complex was positioned to maximize the warmth and light from the sun. Today there are plenty of benches and shade for a relaxing visit. We recommend bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy in the gardens. In the summer nothing compares to seeing an opera performed at Baths of Caracalla.
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 52
Open daily. Hours vary by month, see website for information.
Entry fee: €6
Public transportation: Metro B-Circo Massimo, Bus 628, 760