Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baths of Caracalla

I have so much catching up to do - we still don't have internet at our place (big surprise) - so I am interrupting the hill towns tour to post about our day in Rome. Sunday was a gorgous day so we made our destination the Baths of Caracalla. We wanted to stop at the Bocca della Verita (the Mouth of Truth) since it was on the way to the baths. The line was out the door so we are going to have to do that one on another day. Across the street from the Mouth of Truth is the Temple of Hercules, a round temple that dates back to 120 B.C.

The Baths of Caracalla were very impressive for being ruins. The baths, commissioned by Emperor Caracalla, were built between 212 and 216 A.D. and they were the place to be for thousands of Romans every day. It is said that 6,000 to 8,000 people used the baths on a daily basis. The complex was huge - it consisted of gymnasiums, an outdoor swimming pool, saunas, a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (medium), and calderium (hot room), a massive public library and extensive grounds. This place is huge and, unfortunately, the grand scale doesn't translate that well to film. When you are there you can almost get a sense of what it must have been like when it was clad with white marble and had its pools intact and greenery and statues everywhere.

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