The Terme di Baia Archaeological Complex is located at no more than a short walk from the historical center of Bacoli. Here you can see the ruins of partially submerged Roman baths, temples and other monuments.
Terme di Baia Archaeological Complex Bacoli
Address: Via sella di Baia, 22 – Bacoli. Phone: +39 081 8687592. Opening times: Tuesdays till Sundays from 09:00 till sunset. Closed: Mondays, January, May 1, December 25. Ticket price: 5 Euros (discount 2 Euros). (Note that opening times and admission may be subject to change.)
History and description
The excavations of the Terme di Baia Complex started around 100 years ago. Three domes had always remained visible, and it was between these landmarks that digging started.
The main monuments in the archaeological complex are the Sosandra Baths and the Temples of Mercury, Venus and Diana (which in reality are also baths rather than temples). The Cento Camerelle, the Piscina Mirabile, the tomb of Agrippina and the military port of Miseno are also part of the complex, as are the theater and the monumental tombs.
The reason the temples were thought to be temples was twofold. Firstly, the buildings were very impressive and secondly, they were constructed in isolated positions.
However, the real motives for these positions were different. For one, the baths could only be buried where there was hot water, and, secondly, they had to be constructed around two enormous already existing villas.
These villas were are known as the Sosandra and Ambulatio villas and consisted of several levels along the slopes. These levels were connected by stairways and ramps. The dining rooms on the upper levels offered beautiful panoramic views of the islands off the coast. The complexes also contained spas, such as the richly decorated (and well-preserved) “Small baths”.
Temple of Mercury
The “Temple” of Mercury is characterized by the oldest hemispherical roofing made of concrete. It was constructed from a volcanic stone called pozzolana, which was almost exclusively found near Pozzuoli’s Solfatara.
The characteristics of the subsoil made it possible to make large immersion pools and dig conduits to capture the hot vapors and heat the saunas.