Baths of Caracalla
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 41° 52.843 E 012° 29.549
33T E 291938 N 4639572
Quick Description: The Baths of Caracalla, the second largest baths complex in ancient Rome, were built between 212 and 219 A.D. by the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known by his nickname Caracalla.
Location: Lazio, Italy
Date Posted: 7/30/2007 12:21:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM1XZH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
Views: 158

Long Description:
Nearest Metro Station : Line B "Circo Massimo"

A self guided audio tour in several languages is provided for a fee (€4.00)

The bath complex covered approximately 13 hectares (33 ac). The bath building was 228 meters (750 ft) long, 116 meters (380 ft) wide and 38.5 meters (125 ft) estimated height, and could hold an estimated 1,600 bathers.[1]

The Caracalla bath complex of buildings was more a leisure centre than just a series of baths. The "baths" were the second to have a public library within the complex. Like other public libraries in Rome, there were two separate and equal sized rooms or buildings; one for Greek language texts and one for Latin language texts.

The baths consisted of a central 55.7 by 24 meter (183x79 ft) frigidarium (cold room) under three 32.9 meter (108 ft) high groin vaults, a double pool tepidarium (medium), and a 35 meter (115 ft) diameter caldarium (hot room), as well as two palaestras (gyms where wrestling and boxing was practiced). The north end of the bath building contained a natatio or swimming pool. The natatio was roofless with bronze mirrors mounted overhead to direct sunlight into the pool area. The entire bath building was on a 6 meter (20 ft) high raised platform to allow for storage and furnaces under the building.

The libraries were located in exedrae on the east and west sides of the bath complex. The entire north wall of the complex was devoted to shops.

The building was heated by a hypocaust, a system of burning coal and wood underneath the ground to heat water provided by a dedicated aqueduct. It was in use up to the 19th century.

Taking a bath was a long and complex process, which is eminently understandable if you see it as a social activity first and foremost. Remember, too, that for all their sophistication, the Romans didn't have soap. You began in the sudatoria, a series of small rooms resembling saunas. Here you sat and sweated. From these you moved to the calidarium, a large circular room that was humid rather than simply hot. This was where the actual business of washing went on. You used a strigil, or scraper, to get the dirt off; if you were rich, your slave did this for you. Next you moved to the tepidarium, a warmish room, the purpose of which was to allow you to begin gradually to cool down. Finally, you splashed around in the frigidarium, the only actual "bath" in the place, in essence a shallow swimming pool filled with cold water. The rich might like to complete the process with a brisk rubdown with a scented towel. It was not unusual for a member of the opposite sex to perform this favor for you (the baths were open to men and women, though the times when they could use them were different). There was a nominal admission fee, often waived by officials and emperors wishing to curry favor with the plebeians.

In the early 20th century, the design of the baths was used as the inspiration for several modern structures, including Pennsylvania Station in New York City (Since demolished and replaced).
Most Relevant Historical Period: Roman Empire > 27 B.C.

Admission Fee: €6.00

Opening days/times:
Open every day (except Mondays) from 09:00 a.m. to 1 hour before sundown (from 16:30 - 19:00 according to the season). Mondays from 09:00 - 14:00

Web Site: [Web Link]

Condition: Some remaining traces (ruins) or pieces

Visit Instructions:
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