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The Baths of Caracalla (terme di Caracalla) are some of the best preserved ancient buildings of the Roman times.
The Roman thermal baths can be found along the ancient Appian Way, and in their time they were Rome's second largest public baths, accommodating some 1600 bathers.
Today they are ruins and a good guide book or hiring the audio guide is helpful to bring the scene to life.
This page details practical information on how to find the Baths of Caracalla.
Broadly, there were three large bathing rooms. A cold pool, a lukewarm pool and a hot pool. These baths, which could hold up to 1600, allowed bathers to roam freely from one pool to another, meet up with friends and generally network. There were also other facilities to relax and indulge in. A bit like a golf club today?
If there is one thing a visit to the Baths of Caracalla will do is to emphasise the sheer size and scale of the facility. Even today the ruins are massive.
In Roman times the Baths of Caracalla came equipped with two libraries and extensive gardens to walk about and enjoy as well as a swimming pool for recreational use.
The gardens are still there to be enjoyed. For the actual baths you will need to use your imagination to visualise what it was like all those years ago, wrapping your imagination around the carcass of the remains of the vast complex in front of you.
There is no proper exhibition area and information boards are few and far between. Hiring an audio guides is thus worthwhile if you are to make sense of what you see before you. There is a small bookshop too.
The Baths of Caracalla are south of the city centre along a corridor of ancient archaeological remains/attractions that stretch from the Roman Forum/Colosseum to the Appian Way (Via Appia Antica) on the edge of Rome.
The Baths of Caracalla are a 5-minute walk from the Circo Massimo Metro station. The Circo Massimo is also the nearest that most of the popular Rome hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses stop, though the main bus stop for Circo Massimo used by the sightseeing buses is at a vantage point 5 minutes' further walk away than the Metro Station.
If you are independently minded the 118 Rome city bus runs about every 40 minutes daily, stopping outside the Baths of Caracalla. The bus passes Circo Massimo Metro Station for the short ride to the Baths of Caracalla.
The 118 bus continues to the Appian Way, about a further 15 minutes on the bus, a very nice combination, especially on a Sunday.
The Baths of Caracalla have a small admission charge and are open daily for the full day except on a Monday when they are open in the mornings only. For current admission prices and exact opening times click through to the official web page below.
The Baths of Caracalla - official website
There is just a small bookshop at the entrance gate where you can also hire an audio guide (recommended if you want to make sense of what you are seeing).
There is just a small refreshment stall selling snacks outside the complex which is quite isolated, the nearest bars etc are back by Circo Massimo Metro station. There is minimal shade.
As the site is run by the Rome Authorities entrance can also be covered by the popular Roma Pass Ticket.
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