Thermal rooms in the Villa Romana del Casale


In the town of Piazza Armerina (SP 90) the Roman Villa of the farmhouse stands, a late-ancient building, now considered a UNESCO heritage.

The villa is divided into four separate sections located on the hill slope, but connected to each other: monumental entrance, central body of the villa, large trichora and the thermal complex with access from the north-western corner of the quadrangular peristyle.

The quadrangular peristyle leads to the thermal hall through the Private entrance to the thermae, "the room is characterized by an irregular plan, the particular arrangement embraces function and mosaic decoration since, from the very image of the domina entering the thermae,one can understand the use of this space both by owners and the most important guests: hence the domina appears in the act of receiving them.1 "



From here you go to a Two-Apse Room, a stately oblong public place, called 'palestra'; it was utilized as a passage hall which commonly preceeded the thermal areas.

Access came via two distinct entrances; to the east entered the dominus with the family and the most important guest, while from the southern apse, the common users.2



Follow the three thermal environments typical of the Roman tradition:
- frigidarium, it was the place dedicated to cold baths, which were considered curative and invigorating. The great hall, of an octagonal plan, presents a rich architectonics structure, with six apse niches and two pools.



- tepidarium is identified with an elongated environment.
"The room of the thermal path heated at a moderate temperature to avoid an excessive oscillation in temperature between the rooms for the hot and those ones for the cold baths.
It preserves traces of the traditional Roman heating system the so called hypocaust, i.e. 'hot underneath' formed of furnaces places outside the walls, of suspended floors and drilled clay pipes inserted into the walls, hence the heat from the furnaces could evenly spread throughout the environment".3



- caldaria and iaconicum: "the last three rooms of the thermal complex are places dedicated to the hot baths, heated with the habitual system of raised flooring. The two external environments are the caldaria, each provided with a small pool for the immersion into hot water, whereas as the centre the laconicum is collocated which is deprived of pool as it was heated with dry air of about 60° for brief 'sweat baths' ".4



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