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English / USA Language: English / USA

As you walk through the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, keep in mind that the thermal baths of the Imperial era usually consisted of a central body with swimming pools and two shorter sides with two large, semicircular halls with gymnasiums. The most unusual aspect of these baths is their dimensions: they occupied a square of about 330 meters per side, and it's been calculated that they could hold more than 1,500 people!

Keep in mind, however, that the entire spa complex also included a garden area surrounded by a perimeter wall, while the actual building with the baths measured "only" 220 x 114 meters. It included a large open-air pool called a natatio, an immense central room with a fresh water pool called the frigidarium, and the tepidarium and calidarium, which were rooms with pools of heated water at different temperatures. The semicircular gyms also included service areas, including luxurious dressing room with walls full of colored marble, can you imagine? The real heart of the baths was the central pavilion, with a magnificent hall with three monumental arches, which is where the frigidarium was located; it was practically a basilica, and was where the Romans would gather not only to care for their bodies, but also to talk and discuss business and everyday life.

Look at how robust the pylons of the calidarium are, which is the circular room with a diameter of almost 35 meters; this room had a pool with heated water and was covered by a dome that was almost 40 meters high. The windows all faced south/southwest so that the rooms were bright all day long.

You're probably wondering where the water came from. The pools of the bathing complex were supplied by an immense tank that had been dug under the hill, while the heating was provided by a sophisticated hot-air piping system under the floor.

If you want an unforgettable experience, try to get tickets for one of the outdoor shows that they offer in this archaeological complex every summer, including a lyrical opera season. I highly recommend it!


FUN FACT: to heat the spas, they would burn 10 tons of wood every day in 50 ovens. And just think, the pools were emptied, cleaned, and filled daily!

And with this we have finished our tour of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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