About Baths of Caracalla
The extensive ruins are farther inside, waiting to be explored. While most of it has withered beyond recognition, the sheer size of the remaining structure gives you a fair impression of its lost grandeur. Visitors can observe the large red-bricked walls and the intricate black and white mosaic used to line the floors, providing a brief glimpse into its past glory.
Though the ceiling has now caved in, parts of the grand pillars and the gigantic porticoes still remain and are accessible to visitors. An ode to Rome’s architectural excellence, the Baths of Caracalla once stretched across an area of 33,000 sq m.ft, adorned with giant granite columns and numerous frescoes.
Today, as we walk along with the perfectly maintained gardens and into the ruins, all we can do is imagine the Baths of Caracalla as it once were, in all its glory.
How to Reach Baths of Caracalla
Best Time to Visit Baths of Caracalla
It is recommended that you visit the baths during Spring (March to May) or Autumn (September to November) so that you can beat the crowd. Moreover, the weather is at its best during these months.
What Not to Miss at Baths of Caracalla
Here are some of the top attractions in Baths of Caracalla:
In the swimming area, visitors can still see the remains of a poolside game that the Romans used to play.
It is said that during the Renaissance, Donato Bramante and Andrea Palladio used these baths as inspiration for their own architectural endeavors!
It is said that around 20 gallons of water were pumped per second into various tanks and pipes for bathing purposes!
1. The Colosseum
Other Essential Information About Baths of Caracalla
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Roma RM, Italy. Located south of the city center, along a corridor of ancient archaeological sites that stretch from the Colosseum to the Appian Way, the Baths of Caracalla are easily accessible.
- The baths are open daily, except for December 25 and January 1 when they remain closed.
- It is open to the public from 9 am every day. However, the closing hours depend upon the season.
- Visitors are allowed to enter the ancient ruins till one hour before closing time.
- On Mondays, the site closes at 2 pm. Here are the closing times for the rest of the week:
- 4:30 pm - From the last Sunday of October to 15 February
- 5:00 pm - From 16 February to 15 March
- 5:30 pm - From March 16th to the last Saturday of March
- 7:15 pm - From the last Sunday of March to 31 August
- 7:00 pm - From 1 September to 30 September
- 6:30 pm - From 1 October to the last Saturday of October
- For night visits: 8 pm - From late August to late September
Except on certain selected days when the entry is free, visitors are required to purchase a ticket of 8€. But with the opening of the underground area, tickets now cost 11€. However, everyone under the age of 18 can gain free entry. Visitors can also make use of Rome City Passes for free or discounted entry.
The Baths of Caracalla: A Historical Overview
The ancient baths were built during the reign of Emperor Caracalla. Even though he is largely credited for having the baths built, it is assumed that the idea and the design were conceived by his father, Emperor Septimius Severus. Construction began in 206 and was completed by 216 or 217.
Because of the cement they made and the arches they constructed, the Romans were able to create gigantic structures even in those ancient times. Once completed, the baths could hold up to 1,600 people. It is said that around 6000-8000 people visited the Caracalla baths in a day.
Since the Romans did not have running water in their houses, they had to resort to using public baths for their daily chores. However, the Baths of Caracalla served as more than just a public bath. It was also the place where most of their social interactions took place. The baths were used for hundreds of years until 537 when the aqueducts that were used to supply water to the baths were destroyed by the Ostrogoths.
An Architectural Marvel
As is prevalent in Roman architecture, the Caracalla baths also followed a symmetrical layout. The structure was constructed using a mixture of baked brick and concrete. But what is most fascinating is perhaps the network of tunnels the Romans managed to build so early on. These tunnels were mainly used for inspection purposes and also to store water and wood. They also had a working drainage system.
What Makes Baths of Caracalla Famous?
What makes the Baths of Caracalla so important is that it is one of those rare ancient structures in which we can still see the impressions of the original decor. Archeologists have found manuscripts with proof of marble floors, pillared halls, and mosaic interiors. As we walk through the ruins and try to reimagine its history, we are offered a glimpse into the ancient city of Rome.
Why Should You Visit the Caracalla Baths?
If you are looking to beat the crowd prevalent in the touristy areas of Rome, head over to the Caracalla baths. You can walk right in, looking for the signboards to lead the way. The history buff in you will be happy to find placards explaining the significance of each spot.
Many have described the grandeur in size and architecture to be a symbolic instrument of the Roman imperial power. If you are visiting during the summer, do not forget to check out the various open-air concerts that are often hosted in these ancient ruins. Mostly consisting of iconic operas, these performances are not to be missed.