Travel in time to an ancient Roman spa.
Spend an afternoon exploring the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla and be transported back to ancient Rome in its prime as you find out what a day at the spa would have looked like for a Roman citizen.
- Find out which room would have been your favorite: the caldarium, the tepidarium, or the frigidarium.
- Explore the underground complex, the technological heart of the baths, and home to the Mithraeum.
- Admire the remnants of the sea-themed mosaics – see how many pieces you can spot.
Tickets & Prices
All tickets to the Baths of Caracalla grant you entrance to the ruins which you can explore at your own pace. Tickets can be purchased online (with a small reservation fee) or at the ticket office on site. Both printed and digital tickets are permitted.
Find out below which ticket is best suited to you.
This is the standard ticket suitable for all non-European citizens over the age of 18, and European citizens over the age of 25.
European citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are eligible for this reduced ticket.
The first Sunday of each month is free to all visitors. In some circumstances, admission to the ruins is free every day. This ticket is suitable for:
- Children under 18 years of age
- Italian teachers with a fixed-term or permanent contract
- European Union tour guides
- European Union touristic interpreters
- Employees of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities
- Members of ICOM (international council of museum)
- Members of ICCROM (international organization for conservation of cultural heritage)
- One free ticket for an EU school group of over 10 students led by one teacher
- EU Teachers and students of certain subjects
- Erasmus students of certain subjects
- Art-history teachers in high-schools
- Students of the following schools: central institute of restoration, opificio delle pietre dure, school for mosaic restoration
- People with disabilities and one family member or a helper belonging to the health and social assistance service
- Certain volunteers who carry out promotion and dissemination activities of cultural heritage
What to see and do
It’s a well-known fact that the Romans loved their baths, but it wasn’t just about hygiene! The Baths of Caracalla also served as a kind of social center for the Romans, where they could relax at the spa, network, exercise, or even enjoy a good book from the library.
Here are just some of the things you can expect to see on your visit to these magnificent ruins.
The bath complex consisted of three different rooms with varying temperatures, as well as two palaestras (gyms), and a laconicum (sauna).
The caldarium (hot room) was a circular room that held seven pools and reached temperatures of up to nearly 38°C. The room was heated with fires from below that were constantly attended to by slaves so that the room could stay hot enough.
The tepidarium (of medium heat) held two pools of warm water and would have been considered the most relaxing out of the three rooms. It was lavishly decorated with mosaics and marbles.
The frigidarium (cold room) was the central room to which all the other rooms were connected. It housed four pools of cold baths, as well as a decorative fountain, and would have been almost completely covered in marble.
The natatio was an Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by 20-meter-high walls and three gigantic granite columns. Instead of a roof, it was topped with bronze mirrors that were angled in a way to direct sunlight into the pool which would help keep it heated.
The underground complex was the area that housed the ovens and pumps which supplied the baths with hot water. Today, it hosts the exhibition area where you can learn much more about the history of this incredible complex and the Romans who built it.
Underground is also home to the Mithraeum, the largest worshipping space to the god Mithra ever documented. This Persian god was popular among the Roman working class during the 2cd and 3rd centuries. You can still see an impressive fresco of him on the wall.
Only one of them survives today, but there were originally two symmetrical libraries in the bath complex, one which held texts in Greek, the other in Latin. They featured 32 niches for the books over three walls and were decorated with marble and statues. A masonry ledge was used as a seating area.
In its heyday, the baths were lavishly decorated with sculptures, frescoes, and black and white mosaics portraying sea creatures, some remnants of which can still be seen today. As you walk through the ruins, keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful artworks and imagine what it would have been like to walk through here as a Roman.
The Baths of Caracalla are located just to the south of central Rome, on Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 52. They are within walking distance from the Colosseum (15 min.) and the Circus Maximus (10 min.)
Metro: The closest station is Circo Massimo, which is on Line B. It’s a 10-minute walk from there.
Tram: The number 3 tram also stops at Circo Massimo.
Bus: 118, 160, and 628 all stop at Terme Caracalla/ Porta Capena, the nearest bus stop.
Did you know that: (5 Interesting Facts!)
- Decorative pieces taken from the baths were reused in other famous monuments, such as the Pisa Cathedral and the Santa Maria in Trastevere church.
- The baths were designed to accommodate up to 1,600 bathers at a time and would receive up to 8,000 bathers a day!
- The Romans were incredible innovators. They installed a heating system that used coal and wood fires to heat the water from the aqueduct and the walls and floors of the rooms!
- They are the best-preserved Roman bath complex that exists today and were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
- Every July and August the baths serve as a venue for open-air opera and ballet performances. Catching a show is a unique and beautiful way to experience the ruins.
- The baths were built between 211 and 217 CE under the command of Emperor Caracalla (though the original idea was thought to have been conceived by his father, Emperor Septimius Severus).
- The thermae, which were the second largest public baths in Rome, were in use for over 300 years and were an integral part of Roman society.
- In 537 CE, Rome was attacked by the Ostrogoths, who cut off the supply of water to the city. The baths were consequently abandoned.
- In 847, a powerful earthquake destroyed much of the structure of the baths, as well as some other Roman edifices.
- Starting from the 12th century, the structure was used as a quarry for construction materials, such as marble and other stones.
- Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the baths became a source of inspiration for many famous artists and architects, and many drawings of the ruins can be traced back to this period.
- Excavation and restoration work, however, didn’t begin until the 19th century and they continued well into the 20th.
- The Baths of Caracalla finally reopened to the public as a tourist site in 2001. Today, visitors from all over the world enjoy exploring these fascinating ancient ruins.
Address: Baths of Caracalla, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla , 00153 Roma, Italy · view larger map