One of the best pastimes for the ancient Romans, apart from the fights in the Colosseum, the races in the Circus or the performances in the Theater, were the thermal baths.
The baths were used to maintain the hygiene of the Romans although they were also a perfect place to establish social relationships.
Among all the baths that were in Rome, the best preserved that have survived to this day have been the Baths of Caracalla.
Life in the Roman baths and how they work
The main function, as is logical, of the Roman public baths was that, the bath.
But in addition, and thanks to the large size of the facilities, the Romans also went to exercise, walk, get massages or even go to the library. It was a kind of meeting place for the Romans.
The Roman baths were also a great work of engineering as they consisted of sophisticated piping systems for filling and draining the baths and even for heating.
The heat necessary to heat the water was obtained thanks to a wood oven that was under the pavement and that radiated the necessary heat. There was even an advanced regulation that allowed the water to be at different temperatures.
The Baths of Caracalla were built in just 5 years and inaugurated in the year 216 and in addition to being the best preserved, they were the most luxurious thanks to their mosaics and the works of art they contained.
However, they were not the largest, an honor held by the Baths of Diocletian that were built later.
For 300 years, the Baths of Caracalla were a meeting place for the Romans until they were abandoned and finally destroyed.
The visit to the Baths of Caracalla
Although the Baths of Caracalla are a bit far from the tourist places of Rome, we recommend going there.
We walked from the Colosseum, a big mistake, and that’s why we recommend going by metro or bus.
The walk is long and if it is hot as it happened to us, you may arrive so tired that you do not fully enjoy the visit.
We also warn you that you have to use your imagination considerably there, since there are a few ruins left, although enough to get an idea of the majesty of the hot springs.
For this, the best thing is to rent the audio guide that they offer at the entrance and in which they will tell you the meaning of each corner as well as the ritual of bathing and what life was like in the hot springs.