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A bit of history about the Caracalla Thermal Baths, Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili
Caracalla Thermal Baths . The thermal Baths are one of the largest and best preserved examples of ancient thermal baths. They were built by the Emperor Caracalla and show the typical rectangular shape of the Imperial spas. This complex was not only a place to bathe, practice sports and take care of one's health, but also a place of study and rest. On both sides of the central body there are a number of environments that form part of the thermal station, the "Caldarium", the "Tepidarium", the "Frigidarium" and the "Natatio".
Tomb Of Cecilia Metella. This monument was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus in honor of Cecilia Metella, the daughter of a Roman Consul. It is a circular mausoleum raised in a square base, very similar to the one of Augustus himself, only smaller. In 1303 it was incorporated into the Castrum Caetani and became the principal tower of the fortification.
Villa Dei Quintili. The Villa of Quintili was the largest and most sumptuous residence of the Romans. The original nucleus belonged to the Quintili brothers, the two consuls in the year 151 AD, and was expanded when the villa became imperial property under the Emperor Commodus who loved to live here for the tranquility of the countryside and the thermal baths.
What are the Caracalla Thermal Baths, Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili nowadays?
Currently in the thermal baths of Caracalla we can see other areas that are around the two gyms. Even though there are only brick walls and large tumbled vaults, the remains still remain, which centuries ago gave the splendor to these Baths. In spite of the pass of time and the looting still the floor of the building remains and good part of the walls that formed the enclosure.
Walking along the traditional Via Apia, we find the Tomb of Cecilia Metella exactly in the place where the rebellion of Spartacus died. This is an impressive monument very characteristic of this street, was built in honor of Cecilia Metella, daughter of the consul Quintus Cecilio Metello that conquered Crete defeating the pirates of the Mediterranean.
The Villa dei Quintili became state-owned only in 1986. Today this archaeological site is a "house-museum" with marble friezes and sculptures that adorned the villa in the past. The monumental complex of the villa is located in the Roman countryside and offers a unique panorama that over time has inspired many famous artists.
Curiosities about the Caracalla Thermal Baths, Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili
Did you know that the thermal baths of Caracalla were the most sumptuous structure that was built in antiquity? They were coated with marble and decorated with works of art. Later, they were surpassed in extension by the Baths of Diocleciano, that in spite of their size they failed to equal its splendor.
Did you know that the tomb of Cecilia Metella has a circular shape with a diameter of 29.5 meters and 11 meters in height? It is also located on the route that connected Rome with Naples, and was built between 312 and 310 BC under the command of Appius Claudius the Censor.
Did you know that thanks to some pipes of lead found in the nineteenth century, it has been possible to attribute to the Quintili brothers the property of this Villa? In these tubes the names of these Roman consuls are written.
Why visit the Caracalla Thermal Baths, Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili?
Why visit the thermal baths of Caracalla? Because considering their date of construction, they constitute a wonderful architectural example also, they had very effective water supply system as well as heating and drainage. The large wood-burning stoves served to heat not only the water, but also the floor and walls of the baths.
Why visit the Tomb of Cecilia Metella? Because this mausoleum was of greater importance during the middle age when Pope Bonifacio VIII donated it to its own family, the Caetano family who used the construction including it in its castle like tower of defense and to control the pass of the merchants and consequently charge them taxes.
Just outside the city, between Via Appia Antica and Via Appia Nuova, lies the Villa dei Quintili which offers its visitors the possibility of an outdoor walk through the remains of this magnificent Roman villa. In the area surrounding the Villa have been found finds of great historical value, the same building that was originally built around a large square, is one of the jewels of Via Appia.
Other attractions in the area
A short distance from the thermal baths of Caracalla we find Circus Maximus, the largest building created for the performance of antiquity shows, in addition to being one of the greatest of all time. In this same area is the Palatine that is the oldest archaeological site of the city and important part of the imperial Rome.
On your tour of Rome you can't miss a visit to the Colosseum, the Palatine and the Roman Forum, a journey through time to know the most important remains of ancient Rome where you can check the architectural genius of that civilization. It is possible to make a joint visit to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine.