Cities of Italy

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome

The Baths of Caracalla is a grandiose monument in its monumentality, built in ancient Rome at the beginning of the 3rd century AD. Looking at the giant ruins of the term, it is even difficult to compare them with such a simple everyday concept as a bathhouse. From this article you will learn about the history of the structure, its current condition, how to visit the Thermae of Caracalla in Rome, what their working hours and ticket prices are.

History of term

The terms got their name from the name of the emperor Caracalla who built them, or rather from his nickname. In fact, the emperor was called Marcus Aurelius Antonin (not to be confused with Marcus Aurelius from the Antonin dynasty), and he received his nickname for his love for a Gallic cloak with a hood up to heels, called caracalla.

Strictly speaking, the construction of baths began under the father of Caracalla, and ended in 217 - after his death. And almost the entire period of construction, the emperor was in military campaigns far beyond the territory of Rome.

The baths amazed with its grandeur even the satiated spectacles of the Romans

The period of the construction of the term has become a kind of reference point before the decline of the empire, torn by civil strife and unrest. The beginning of the 3rd century it was marked by a just-established peace, which was facilitated by the father of Caracalla, and in order to distract people from political and social problems, it was decided to erect a new complex of terms.

The idea was not original in concept: at that time several imperial terms and many smaller ones were already operating in Rome. And therefore, in order to impress the city people, saturated with various spectacles, the stake was made on an unprecedented scale. The yard area was a square of 400x400 m, and the building itself had dimensions of 150x200 m.

Term interiors themselves were a work of art

The terms in Roman culture were not just a bathhouse, but also the heart of public life. Often, they were not only washed, but came here to solve important issues, negotiations and even weaving. And the terms of Caracalla in general became for the Romans a real entertainment center.

It had its own library, gardens, an amphitheater, gymnasiums for physical exercises and a stadium. Moreover, the construction of the complex was designed so that the stadium was visible directly from the bath rooms, and visitors could watch what was happening without leaving the premises.

The statue of Apollo Belvedere once graced the interior of therma

The interiors of the term Caracalla in Rome themselves were a work of art. To delight the eyes, the floors and walls were laid out with marble and glass mosaics, and magnificent sculptures stood in deep niches along their entire length. Some of them have reached us: the famous Apollo Belvedere and the composition Farnese bull are now in the Vatican Museums and the Archaeological Museum of Naples, respectively.

Thermal device

Directly baths were a series of rooms for various purposes. In the center there was a frigidarium - a cool hall without a roof for relaxation. Behind him - tepidarium - the ancestor of the sauna, a room with dry hot air, and followed by tepidarium - caldaria - a round room with a pool in the middle, filled with warm water. Also in the complex were small rooms for those who wanted to wash alone.

The terms in Roman culture were the heart of social life

Below were the technical rooms and furnaces that provided the term. Water came here from a source in the Anio River Valley according to the Marzius aqueduct, built several centuries earlier. At Caracalla, a branch was made from him, supplying the bath tanks with clean cold water.

Current state

With the withering of the Roman Empire, the terms of Caracalla fell into decline. The lands suffered from frequent raids by barbarians, and once the richest state could no longer support all those incredible buildings in proper condition. The baths closed in 537 and were abandoned. They were forgotten so much that subsequent generations did not even know the purpose of the colossal complex.

Mosaic floor in thermae

Interest in the construction returned only in the XVI century. For a long time, the baths were called Antonin's Palace, which is not surprising, given the scale of the complex. Then they could not even imagine that these powerful walls belonged to the bathhouses.

By the way, it is thanks to the special construction technology that they are so well preserved. Between two layers of masonry concrete was poured, and after it hardened, the structure became so strong that it was extremely difficult to destroy it.

The terms are well preserved thanks to the special construction technology.

Today, the baths of Caracalla, in addition to the museum complex, also serve as an additional platform for the Roman Opera. A stage was erected on the territory of the archaeological site and visual places were equipped. Since 1937 they have been giving performances here, they take place mainly in the summer season - from June to August. Ticket prices are quite affordable - start at 20 euros.

In 1960, during the Olympic Games in Rome, they even held athletics competitions. So we can say that to some extent today the terms of Caracalla fulfill their former function.

In the summer on the territory of the complex are opera performances

Opening hours and how to get

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome are open daily except December 25 and January 1. The archaeological complex works according to the following schedule:

  • From January 2 to February 15: 09:00 - 16:30
  • From February 16 to March 15: 09:00 - 17:00
  • From the last Sunday of March to August 31: 09:00 - 19:15
  • From September 1 to September 30: 09:00 - 19:00
  • From October 1 to the last Saturday of October: 09:00 - 18:30
  • From the last Sunday of October to December 31: 09:00 - 16:30

You can enter no later than one hour before closing. On Mondays, the operating hours of Term Caracalla in Rome are from 9:00 to 14:00, regardless of the season.

The price of an adult ticket is 8 euros. Tickets can be purchased at the box office.

Term Address: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla. You can get to the Complex by metro on line B, leaving at Circo Massimo station.

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