The new decree in Italy has lead to the closure of all archeological parks. How do I find my way around this rule? I don’t. Simply, I have been exploring churches of Rome as places of worship are still open (for now) as well as doing official and self-guided tours around different quartieri (neighbourhoods) and locations of Rome.
Before the rain that is COVID-19 destroyed my tourist parade, I was fortunate enough to explore the “Terme di Caracalla” one lovely Thursday morning and have them virtually to myself. Terme kind of sounds like Thermal, doesn’t it? Well, the Baths of Caracalla were indeed the second largest public baths of Ancient Rome (second to the Baths of Diocletian, which I plan to visit when archeilogical museums reopen). To be honest, I also wanted to enjoy a site that was not covered in tourist plaques overwhelming me with information. I do know that the Terme di Caracalla do offer a virtual reality tour, which enables you to see what they would have looked like in all their former glory. That just wasn’t the mood of the day. I relish sitting in an archeological site that is centuries and milennia old. The imagination is a powerful tool that can transport you as far as you wish.
Basking in the morning autumn sun, I wandered through the gardens towards the entrance of the baths. Once inside, I was struck by their sheer immensity: red-bricked columns of largely collaped vaults scraped the skies above me. There was something imposing about them that had remained despite their clearly delapidated state. You still stood their in wonder. All around thre first vaults lay mosaics propped against the walls to give you a slice of the splendour that must have once been here. I found a bench and perched myself to imbibe the history and majesty that ensconced me. There was something so serene about being here alone. After taking a few mandatory photos, I simply “indulged” in my oh-so-healthy-and-drab wholemeal croissant (I fled from the more scrumptious Nutella-injected variety in fear of climbing kilos) and meditated with my eyes open.