Tourists Throng Rome As Ancient Baths of Caracalla Get Water Again

The ancient baths of Caracalla was used to host concerts and is very popular with tourists. With water now flowing again, Rome expects these ancient structures to boom for tourists like never before.

By Sam
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The Baths of Caracalla

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Tourism in Italy has another reason to boom. The return of water to Rome's ancient baths of Caracalla after a dry spell of more than 1,000 years was cheered last week by ballet dancers performing on a platform over a newly installed pool.

Caracalla is one of the largest thermal complexes ever built. The baths were begun by Emperor Septimius Severus in 212 AD and completed four years later by his successor Caracalla. The ruins are now a popular tourist destination and host concerts and theatre. Tourists rarely give these ruins a miss when in Rome.

This month local authorities unveiled a project to re-introduce water to the site, installing a large, shallow pool which reflects the towering walls of the ancient buildings.

Baths of Caracalla Water


The pool, dubbed the Specchio, or mirror in Italian, is a rectangular structure 42 metres by 32 metres and 10 cm deep, designed by architects Hannes Peer and Paolo Bornello. The pool is meant to evoke the so-called Natatio, the largest of the several pools in ancient Roman baths, usually found at the centre. Travel to these ancient ruins is a must for tourists visiting Rome.



Mirella Serlorenzi, the site's director, said, "Water, an element that has been absent for more than 1,000 years, returns in a decisive yet respectful way to the ruins." 

The new installation, which is fitted with submerged water jets and lighting effects, is part of a broader project by Rome's cultural authorities to make the city's ancient sites more similar to how they were originally conceived.


Last week's opening show by Aterballetto, choreographed by Iratxe Ansa e Igor Bacovich, will be the first of a string of dance, theatre and classical music performances to be hosted in Caracalla this spring and summer.

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