Baths of Caracalla in Rome open for guided night tours

Added 23/09/2010

Europe on a map

Night tours of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome will be running every Saturday night until 23 October. Visitors can enjoy the ruins away from the heat of the day, when they will be lit by a golden glow. The Colosseum is also open on Saturday nights until 3 October.

The night tours of the bath are led by archaeologists, and English speaking tours take place between 10pm and midnight, costing €10 for adults and €8 for children.

The Baths of Caracalla cover a vast 27 acre area, and in its heyday, it could house 1,600 bathers. The baths are an impressive example of Roman architecture. The complex took five years to build, and it was completed in 217AD, after which they were used for around 300 years.

The Romans were serious about their baths, and the process of bathing took a long time. First, bathers would visit the hot caldarium, then the lukewarm tepidarium, and finally the cold frigidarium. There was also a large open air swimming pool to bathe in.

The Baths of Caracalla had many functions other than bathing. There were places to exercise, libraries and art galleries. It was a very eccentric leisure centre and a social meeting place for local people.

The baths have long been a popular tourist attraction, and until recently, they hosted open air operas. They no longer host operas, as it was thought that operatic vocals could potentially damage the ancient baths.

Visitors that join a night tour of the Baths of Caracalla will get the chance to learn about Roman life, rites and customs.