Today people usually prefer just to have their shower or bath in the comfort of their own but back in the roman days taking a bath wasn’t just a private affair it was a social affair where you could discuss with your fellow citizen of Rome. There were huge public bath complex different places in Rome. The second biggest of these bath complexes were the Terme di Caracalla who was a Roman emperor between 211 and 217 AD. The construction took place during most of his reign.
The bath is quite huge – but they are sort of in the outskirts of the old historic center of Rome. Hence the big crowds you will find at the Colosseum or the Foro Romanum just don’t make it out to the bath another 15 minutes’ walk from the Colosseum. So when you visit you can go around and enjoy the enormous bath in relative peace and quiet.
The bath was in use for the rest of the life of the Roman Empire and even survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The bath was pretty famous back in the day and was mentioned as one of the seven wonders of Rome. Even in the 5th century the bath had between 6,000 and 8,000 visitors every day sharing about 8,000,000 liters of water. The bath have inspired the design of other buildings like the huge bath of Diocletian dating back to the Roman era – but the bath has also inspired the design of more modern buildings like the Pennsylvania Station in New York.
The bath function came to an end around the time of the Gothic war in 537 when Rome was sieged and the water supply to the city was cut off – making it impossible to keep the bath running.
After the bath was closed down they were pillaged by churches and other major constructions which need building materials and decorations for their new constructions. But much still remained till this day so it is still a very nice place to go and visit to see the remaining ruins. It is actually one of the bigger preserved areas close to the center of Rome so I find it is well worth to go and visit this somewhat overlooked attraction of the central part of Rome.