Baths of Diocletian
The Baths of Diocletian in Rome are the largest baths in the ancient world.
Historical headquarters of the National Roman Museum , about a century after its establishment in the Baths of Diocletian , the Museum was reorganized into four distinct locations: Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps and the Crypta Balbi were added to the Baths.
The Baths of Diocletian were built in just eight years, between 298 and 306 AD, in the area between the Viminale and Quirinale hills and extended over an area of over 13 hectares. They were bounded by a large enclosure and a large exedra with steps, corresponding to today's Piazza della Repubblica. After almost a thousand years of abandonment, in 1561 Pope Pius IV decided to build a basilica inside the Baths with an adjoining charterhouse dedicated to the Madonna degli Angeli. The project was entrusted to Michelangelo who, respectful of the ancient building, used the frigidarium and the tepidarium without altering their characteristics and designed the large cloister.
Hall VIII houses some of the grandiose architectural fragments of the Baths. Through a façade punctuated by pillars and columns, the hall faced the natatio of which part of the monumental façade is now visible, designed on the model of theater scenes, covered with colored marbles and mosaics that created extraordinary polychrome effects.
Hall X was one of the entrances to the central body of the Baths: here the so-called sepulcher of the Platorini is exhibited. It is important to remember that the finds found in Rome and in the suburbs have converged in the Museum of the Baths of Diocletian . For this reason, two chamber tombs obtained inside a large tuff nucleus are also on display.
Room XI was used to conserve the water of the thermal complex. A large black and white mosaic is currently exhibited there. In the centre, among elegant volutes, Hercules is represented while victorious clutching the horn just torn from the bleeding head of the river god Achelous.
The Octagonal Hall is part of the central complex of the Baths of Diocletian and is the last of the four rooms that once stood next to the Caldarium. The hall was first transformed into a cinema (Sala Minerva) and then into the Planetarium (1928), then the largest in Europe. Only in 1991 the building was destined for the exhibition of sculptures from thermal buildings.
Among the statues from the Baths of Diocletian we must mention the copy of the Aphrodite Cnidia by Praxiteles. From the Baths of Caracalla come two copies from Polycletus and a beautiful statue of Aphrodite, depicted while wringing out her wet hair.
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