Pompeii's Forum Baths

These Baths can be seen in Pompeii, inside the archeological area of the town.

There are three main public baths in Pompeii: the Stabian baths, the Forum baths, and the Central baths.

Although they are the smallest, the Forum Baths are the most elegant of the thermae. Despite their small size, they contained everything necessary for the full bathing ritual: they were divided into men’s and women’s section, each with their own entrance, they had an apodyterium (or changing room), a frigidarium (or cold bath room), a tepidarium (or tepid bath room), calidarium (or hot bath room), an exercise field and toilets.

These baths were situated in Via Thermarum at the centre of Pompeii, in the building opposite the Temple of Fortuna Augusta.
The Forum Baths were built with public funds and were always assiduously frequented by the town authorities.

The narrow entering corridor led straight into the apodyterium passing through a porch courtyard.
The changing room was provided with wooden wardrobes, in which customers could leave their clothes, and stone benches along the walls.

The first chamber was the frigidarium where customers could take a cold bath. It is a circle shaped room, with apsidal niches on the wall and a round bath with the steps in the centre of the room.
The changing room had another door leading into the tepidarium where customers could take a warm bath thanks to water heated by a bronze brazier. The walls of the room were elegantly embellished with stucco giants holding up a shelf.
Lastly came the calidarium with its hot water bath and with a bath with cold water for guests who needed to cool down themselves. The temperature in the room was assured by the circulation of warm air in a cavity between the walls.


The Baths' Entrance


The Courtyard


The Apodyterium


The Frigidarium


The Tepidarium


A Stucco Giant in the Tepidarium


The Brazier located in the Tepidarium


The Calidarium


The Cold Water Bath located in the Calidarium

  • Photos by ti.ecila|ailosoroinotna#ailosoR oinotnA (December 2011)


  • I. Nielsen, Thermae et Balnea. The Architecture and Cultural History of Roman Public Baths, Aarthus University Press 1993 pag. 403
  • R. Etienne, La vita quotidiana a Pompei, Mondadori 1988, pag 398

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