Thermae Antoninianae, as per their Roman name, are, simply put, one of the largest and best preserved ancient thermal complexes in the world, and second largest in Rome itself. Built in 212 AD during the reign of the notoriously spiteful Emperor Caracalla, the complex was built as part of a political propaganda but had the particularity of being open to Romans from all social classes, as it was completely free of charge; the public opinion’s regarding the emperor was drastically improved in the following years, as they attributed their pleasant experience and extravagant surroundings to him.
The Aqua Marcia aqueduct (the longest one in Rome) was specifically built to serve the great imperial and 25-hectares large complex, which was really more of a leisure center than a series of baths. Visitors could relax in the complex’s three different baths, exercise in one of the two gyms or the pool and catch up on their reading at the library.
Despite being taken and destroyed several times throughout their history, the baths remained in use up until the 19th century. They later on hosted the gymnastics events during the 1960 Olympics, and were the main inspiration behind St George's Hall in Liverpool and Pennsylvania Station in New York City.
The Baths of Caracalla’s remains are located in south-eastern Rome, within walking distance from Circo Massimo metro station. It is also accessible by bus via routes 118, 160 or 628. Entry costs €6 per adult and is free of charge for those under 17. It is open to the public every day from 9AM to 6:30PM (until 2PM on Mondays), and is closed on January 1st, Easter Monday and Christmas Day.