Italy TravelBaths of Diocletian Reopen in Rome

Baths of Diocletian Reopen in Rome
Published on Monday, September 29, 2014 by

To commemorate 2,000 years since the death of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, in 14 AD, the ancient Baths of Diocletian reopened to the public last week in Rome. Visitors can view the natation (outdoor swimming pool) and the small cloister of the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, which was built in the 16th century on the ruins of the baths. Marble sculptures in the portico illustrate Augustus’ ancient religious cults, which he used to implement his power. The six-year renovation cost 6.5 million euros and unveiled a never-before-seen frescoed lunette, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Construction on the Baths of Diocletian began in 298 AD, and the baths opened in 306 AD and were in use until 547 AD. Commissioned by Roman co-emperors Maximian and Diocletian, the baths were the most luxurious and largest baths in Rome and are located on Viminal Hill, the smallest of the Seven Hills of Rome. The baths consisted of a frigidarium (cold bath), caldarium (hot bath), and tepidarium (lukewarm bath), as well as gymnasia, libraries, and a swimming pool.

The baths were built with brick and coated in marble, with frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures adorning the rooms. Part of the baths were converted into a church, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli; Pope Pius IV commissioned this transition, led by Michelangelo, in 1561 to honor the Christian slaves who died building the original baths. The baths are open daily except Monday.

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