A bit of History
Sanus per Aquam, or SPA for short, healthy through water.
Water has always been important to the Romans. So the Romans built huge aqueducts—kilometre-long, above-ground water pipes—to supply the Roman people with sufficient water. They also built public, admission-free bathing facilities, which, in addition to the possibility of bathing and relaxing, were usually equipped with a sports field, barber shops or libraries.
The Romans began building the Baths of Caracalla under Emperor Septimius Severus in 206. 10 years later, the bath complex was opened under his son, Emperor Caracalla. Incidentally, a triumphal arch from 203 in the Roman Forum commemorates the Emperor Septimius Severus.
The entire site had an area of about 340 by 330 metres (that’s about the size of 16 football fields). It is estimated that up to 9,000 people (most of them slaves) worked daily on the construction of the Baths of Caracalla, which today is the best-preserved thermal complex in Rome.
A separate aqueduct was built to supply the baths with water. The water was later drained off via a canal system located ten metres below the complex. The hypocaustum, or heating system, was also perfectly thought out. Hot air was blown through clay pipes in the walls to heat rooms, floors or pools. For this to work, hundreds of slaves had to burn tons of wood in around 50 ovens in the basement of the thermal complex.
Every day, up to 2,000 people could enjoy themselves in the thermal baths. Women were also allowed to enter, although they usually had to bathe at different times or in separate rooms. They also wore bikinis and enjoyed massages—just like we do today.