Visit the Baths of Caracalla in Rome

Thermes Caracalla Rome

Discover Ancient Rome and its major monuments with a tour of the Baths of Caracalla and the Circus Maximus!

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome(Terme di Caracalla) are among the most important Roman remains, yet they are still little visited compared to other Roman sites in the Italian capital. They offer a fascinating insight into how the Romans turned bathing into one of the most luxurious leisure activities available today.

Thermes de Caracalla Rome

Flickr – Jonas Witt

Begun in 206 AD by the emperor Septimius Severus and completed by his son Caracalla, the 11-hectare complex could accommodate 1,600 bathers at a time. With an Olympic-sized swimming pool and baths, the Baths of Caracalla also boasted two different gymnasiums for weightlifting, boxing and wrestling, a library with Latin and Greek texts, and stores, restaurants and gardens. All services depended on slaves, who dressed and ironed their customers’ clothes, and looked after all their needs. Beneath the marble paving of the majestic halls, other slaves worked in a maze of tiny rooms and passageways, stoking the fires that heated the water.

Thermes Caracalla Rome

Flickr – Stuck in Customs

Taking a bath was a long and complex process that makes more sense if you see it, first and foremost, as a social activity. We’d start in the sudatoria, a series of small sauna-like rooms. Here we’d sit and sweat. From there, it was on to the caldarium, a large circular room that was humid rather than simply warm. It was here that the real action of washing took effect. A strigil (a scraper) was used to remove the dirt, and if you were rich, a slave took care of it. Then it was off to the warm ( tepid) tepidarium, which helped you start to cool down. Finally, you’d bathe and swim in the frigidarium, a pool filled with cold water.

Thermes Caracalla Rome

Flickr – mastino70

Today, the Caracalla Baths complex is a mere shell of its former self. While some fragments of black-and-white mosaic remain, you have to use your imagination to see the interior as it once was, filled with sumptuous mosaics, frescoes and sculptures, including the famous Farnese Bull. But to get an idea of the scale of ancient Rome’s ambitions, some sites are in better condition. The walls are still holding, the cracks in the walls are shrinking, and you can almost hear the laughter of long-gone bathers splashing about in the baths. If you visit the Baths of Caracalla in summer, be sure to catch an open-air opera or ballet in the baths, organized by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.

Thermes Caracalla Rome

Flickr – ggallezot

How do I get to the Caracalla Spa from Rome?

Here’s where you’ll find the Baths of Caracalla on a map of Rome. To get there, take the metro and get off at Circo Massimo, or take one of the bus lines 118, 628, 160 and 715.

Information, schedules, rates

Admission is €6 for adults, and free for EU residents under 18 and over 65. 3€ for EU members aged between 18 and 25. The price includes admission to the Villa dei Quintili and the Tomb of Cæcilia Metella.

Opening hours: the spa is open every day except January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Monday, 8:30am to 2pm

last Sunday in October to February 15, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

February 16 to March 15, 8.30am to 5pm

March 16 to last Sunday in March, 8.30am to 5.30pm

Last Sunday in March to August 31, 8:30 am to 7:15 pm

September 1 to 30, 8.30am to 7pm

October 1 to last Sunday in October, 8:30 am to 6:30 pm

Easter Friday, 8:30am to 2pm

The entrance closes 1 hour before official closing time.

Have you visited the Baths of Caracalla during your stay in Rome?

If you’re looking for other things to do or monuments to see in Rome, don’t hesitate to check out our article on the Roma Pass, which allows you to visit Rome without the hassle!

Rome Pass to visit Rome and the Vatican 108.00€ See offers
All tours in and around Rome See offers
All Vatican tours See offers
Visit the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine with an all-inclusive ticket 50.00€ See offers
Visit the Forum and Colosseum with an all-inclusive ticket 39.00€ See offers
Day trip to Naples and Pompeii from Rome 121.00€ See offers