A day at the Baths

How did a Roman spend his day at the Baths of Diocletian?

First of all, he crossed the magnificent gardens adorned with statues and precious works of art. The current 16th-century garden may help to give us an idea, although the items currently displayed are predominantly funerary articles. From Hall X, he headed for the heart of the Baths: the appearance of the Hall was very different at that time, richly decorated and without the three reconstructed tombs.

The passage through to Hall XI did not even exist, as that Hall was at the time an immense water tank. Instead, he exited into Hall IX, the changing rooms, to gain access from there to the gymnasium. This no longer exists but the space where it once stood extended beyond the black gate. He then proceeded to the vast Hall VIII, an imposing covered space with one side open towards the immense swimming pool, the natatio. Alternatively, after the gymnasium, he could have made his way through the various rooms of the bathing ritual, moving through the caldarium, tepidarium and then the frigidarium. To visit these areas, it is now necessary to venture into the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.