The Baths of Caracalla, a third century bathing complex located near the Circus Maximus, was the center of social life for tens of thousands of Romans who would gather there—around 10,000 at a time—to exercise, bathe, and relax. Admission was cheap and anyone could go and enjoy the 90-foot-tall bathing halls with heated floors and pools for dipping. Stroll through the ancient gymnasium, changing rooms, and Olympic size swimming pool and imagine what it was like when the marble-paved building was teeming with Romans. In the summertime, the Baths become the dramatic backdrop for the city's Opera season.
On my Walks of Italy driving tour, I got an in-depth look at some of the fascinating parts of Rome that are more off-the-beaten-path: Rome's aqueduct system; the Appian Way, Rome's advanced road system with over 500 km of paved roads; and Rome's intricate and massive bath houses-- the Baths of Caracalla held up to 10,000 people at a time.
So much still remains of these structures, from the 2,000 years that have passed since they were built; a guided tour helps you to understand the history and significance of all of these Roman landmarks.