Leisure in Ancient Rome - The Circus Maximus & The Baths of Caracalla

The ancient Romans liked to dedicate a lot of their time to “leisure”. The motto of the emperors is supposed to have been “panem et circenses”, meaning: give the people bread and games, and they will not complain. We are going to see what is left of the Circus Maximus, the place “par excellence” for such games. It was built for the first time around 600 BC and rebuilt several times to reach eventually a capacity of about 150.000 spectators (some believe even 250.000), who came to watch the very popular chariot races with the quadrigas, that some of us will remember from the movie “Ben Hur”. Just as important for the well-being of the ancient Romans were the thermal baths, of which the most beautiful ones were built by emperor Caracalla at the beginning of the III century AD and to which we will dedicate the second part of the tour. Although most of the beautiful marble decoration and the mosaic floors, as well as many works of art that had made them famous, are gone, thanks to the remaining structure, we can get an idea of how the ancient Romans were able to organize something very much comparable to a modern “spa”.  (Duration 3 hours, tickets need to be reserved.)