Visit three archaeological sites on the famous Appian Way – the large Caracalla Baths, the tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the ruins of the sumptuous Villa dei Quintili.
Caracalla Baths: Open every day from 9:00am until one hour before sunset, Monday from 9:00am to 2:00pm. Closed: December 25 and January 1.
Cecilia Metella Tomb: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to one hour before sunset. Closed: Monday, December 25 and January 1.
Villa dei Quintili: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 until one hour before sunset. Closed: Monday, December 25 and January 1.
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The Caracalla Baths
Also known as the Thermae Antonianae, the Caracalla Baths are one of the largest and best preserved examples of an ancient public bath complex. Constructed under the auspices of the Emperor Caracalla in the southern part of the city, the building was completed in 216 A.D. and exhibits the rectangular plan typical of Imperial spa centers. The baths themselves were not simply a place for bathing, sport and health, they were also a place of study and relaxation. Access to the heart of the building was through one of four porticos on the north-east face. The various parts of the spa are found in sequential order around the center of the structure: the "Calidarium" (hot plunge bath), the "Tepidarium" (warm bath with radiant heat), the "Frigidarium" (cold pool), and the "Natatio" (open air swimming pool).
There are also other zones and areas to be found around the two gymnasiums. The Caracalla Bath complex is one of those rare ancient examples in which, albeit only in part, it is possible to reconstruct something of the internal decoration. Written manuscripts refer to enormous marble columns, flooring made of colored marble, mosaics of glass and marble on the walls, painted stuccos and hundreds of statues located in niches and placed centrally in the rooms themselves. The water system was made possible by the construction of a special duct from the main aqueduct called the Aqua Antoniana. Throughout its history the complex was reconstructed several times before finally closing altogether in 537 A.D.
The Tomb of Cecilia Metella
This monument was constructed during the reign of Augustus in honor of Cecilia Metella, the daughter of a Roman consul. It is a circular mausoleum raised on a square base, similar to that of Augustus himself, only smaller. In 1303 it was incorporated into the Castrum Caetani (Caetani Castle) and became the principal tower of that fortification. The palace of the Castrum, built over the solidified lava flows of Capo di Bove (which erupted some 300,000 years ago) retains its medieval characteristics and is witness to the power of the family of Pope Boniface VIII. It is now possible to visit the underground levels. Taken together, the tomb and the castle offer an interesting overview of the techniques and materials of construction from antiquity to the middle ages.
The Villa dei Quintili
State property only since 1986, the Villa dei Quintili was the largest and most sumptuous residence of the Roman "suburbium" (suburbs). The original nucleus belonged to the Quintili brothers, consuls in 151 A.D., and was enlarged when the villa became imperial property under the emperor Commodus who loved living here because of the peaceful countryside and the villa's thermal baths.
The villa extends between the Via Appia Antica and the Via Appia Nuova and was built around a large square. The most impressive construction nucleus is formed by the rooms for the masters and servants. They consist of a circular building, a series of rooms and the two large bath quarters called "Calidarium" and "Frigidarium", fourteen meters (close to 46 feet) high with large windows and polychrome marble. The monumental complex is built in terraces overlooking the Roman countryside and offers a panorama that has inspired many famous artists through time.
>>> March 8, 2017: on the occasion of International Women's Day, state museums and places of culture offer free admission to women. <<<
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