The Baths of Diocletian were the largest bathing complex ever built during the ancient Roman period. Built between 298-306 AD, they covered more than 13 hectares and were able to host some 3000 people at a time in a complex which wasn’t restricted to bathing, but included a library as well. Indeed, remains of the complex are still visible in and around the Piazza di Repubblica area from the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli to the curve of the Piazza itself.
Our visit centred around Michelangelo’s cloister: built for the monastery and that church, both of which were built within the baths’ frigidarium. Apparently, though, the best views of the structure of the ancient complex can be had within the church itself. Three other sub-museums – on Epigraphy, Roman protohistory and the Aula Decima are also viewable – while a ticket also gives access to the other three sites of the Museo Nazionale Romano.
This part of the complex made for an interesting late Sunday afternoon visit, but I think I was expecting more along the lines of how an ancient bathing complex works – maybe that’s something for another trip!