Baths of Diocletian, Rome Terme di Diocleziano
Diocletian built these baths to serve the northern districts of the city, the southern districts having been catered for by the Baths of Caracalla. (For the functions of Roman baths, see Terme di Caracalla.) The Baths of Diocletian, measuring 356m/1,170ft by 316m/1,035ft, were even larger than those of Caracalla. Their huge scale can be appreciated when it is seen how widely separated from one another are the surviving parts of the structure, many of them now incorporated into later buildings - the Museo Nazionale Romano or Museo delle Terme (National Museum, Baths Museum), with a collection of Greek and Roman art; the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built by Michelangelo, the round church of San Bernardo; the Planetarium; the Piazza dell'Esedra, in an exedra of the Baths; and the cloister and other structures belonging to a Carthusian monastery. The baths could no longer be used after the Acqua Marcia was cut in A.D. 536, and thereafter the buildings fell into decay.
Baths of Diocletian Map
Address: Via le E. de Nicola 78, I-00186 Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-7:45pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €7.00
Transit: Metro: Repubblica or Termini (line A); Bus: 3, 4, 16, 36, 38, 57, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 170, 319, 910.
National Museum (Baths Museum)
The Museo Nazionale Romano, housed in part of the Baths of Diocletian, has the largest collection of ancient art in Rome after that of the Vatican museums. On the first floor of the Museum are a collection of mosaics, stucco work and frescoes and wall paintings from the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta.
Address: Viale E. De Nicola 79, I-00186 Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-2pm; Sun: 9am-1pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €7.00
Transit: Bus 3, 4, 9, 38, 57, 64, 65, 75, 17, 492, 910, Metro A or B (Terminal)
Baths Museum - Sculptures
Among the most notable exhibits are pre-Christian and Christian sarcophagi and a great range of Greek, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture, including a fine Apollo, a Nereid, the "Young Dancing Girl", the "Discus Thrower" from Porziano Castle, the "Wounded Niobe" from the Gardens of Sallust (fifth century B.C.), the Venus of Cyrene (fourth century B.C.), a "Defeated Boxer" (third century B.C.), the "Maiden of Anzio", the Lancellotti "Discus Thrower" (an excellent copy of the statue by Myron), the Ostia Altar, etc.
Baths Museum - Ludovisi Collection
The Museum contains the Ludovisi Collection, with the "Ludovisi Throne" (fifth century B.C.) and statues of the "Dying Galacian", Ares, Athena Parthenos (a copy of Phidias' statue in the Parthenon), Juno and Orestes and Electra. The Great Cloister (Grande Chiostro) of 1565, with a fountain, contains marble sculpture, architectural fragments, sarcophagi, mosaic and inscriptions.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
The central complex of the Baths was preserved by being incorporated into this church dedicated to the Virgin and her attendant archangels. It was designed by Michelangelo, taking in parts of the ancient structure, in particular the tepidarium (warm bath), a hall 90m/295ft long, 27m/90ft wide and 30m/100ft high. The church is in the form of a Greek cross (with arms of equal length), with chapels at the angles. In order to keep the church dry its floor was raised 2m/6.5ft above ground level, so that the bases of the ancient columns were buried. The building of the church was continued after Michelangelo's death, and thereafter it was restored and redecorated on a number of occasions. Many well-known personalities are buried in the church, which is also used by the State for solemn services on special occasions.
San Bernardo alle Terme
In a rotunda at the northwest corner of the Baths is the church of San Bernardo alle Terme, built at the end of the 16th century. The dome is similar to that of the Pantheon but only half its size (22m/72ft in diameter, as compared with 43.2m/142ft).