The Bath complex at Caracalla,
which is at the foot of the Aventine Hill, was spread over 27 acres and was
reputed to be large enough to handle over 1500 visitors at a time.
The facility offered hot baths, warm baths, stream baths, and
cold baths. Food was served, recreation was available in the
form of a gymnasium and field sports and live music were played in
some of the larger
some rooms. Many have likened the Roman baths to a social club and
Built in the early 3rd Century (A.D,) the baths were an engineering
marvel. Water for the baths was provided by a aqueduct
from a relatively distant source (approximately 35 miles). The
water flowed by gravity and engineering its flow, heating and exit
throughout this large facility was a significant feat.
Fresh water entered at an "upper" level where is was separated and
heated in a number of chambers and tubes. Waste water outlets
carried used water to a lower level, so that the waste water could
exit the facility without the chance of mixing with the fresh water.
Storage areas were filled with charcoal and wood to fuel the
furnaces needed to heat the water.
Although the Baths of Caracalla were destroyed by invaders in the
5th century and were later damaged by earthquakes and looters, they
remain an modestly interesting place to visit. There are few of the
floor mosaics still intact (restored) and they are amazingly
detailed. The Baths
were slightly damaged during the 2009 earthquake that razed the historic town
of L'Aquila in the mountains of central Italy.
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