Terme di Caracalla 1

Terme di Caracalla

The Terme di Caracalla, along with the Diocletian Baths and the Trajan Baths, are among the largest thermal baths in the city and could accommodate over 1600 guests. They are the best preserved thermal baths in the city.

Emperor Caracalla opened them in the year 216 after Christ. The thermal baths were built in only four years. The purpose of these went far beyond a simple bathing establishment. Entrance was free and open to all, including slaves. There was a library with Roman and Greek writings, gymnastics and fitness rooms in which various sports including boxing and fencing were practiced. Numerous services were offered from masseurs, hairdressers to gymnastics instructors. There were also rooms for discussions and exedra for speakers and philosophers. Magnificent ceilings, porticoes, elaborate marble panelling, mosaics and impressive sculptures adorned the baths. In total, the complex had at least 252 columns and over 120 statues.

The approximately 50 wood-burning stoves, which burned about 10 tons of wood daily, supplied the wall and floor heating as well as the hot water and sweat baths.

A Roman bath usually started in the sweat bath, then went into the caldarium at 40-50 °C, followed by the tepidarium at 30-40 °C and finally the bath was finished with the cold water of the frigidarium.


Terme di Caracalla (Rome)