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Translated Jeff Matthews

Without a doubt, Baia possesses the most extended and luxurious thermal bath complex of antiquity. The hillside extends along a 450-meter front from the "Baia Saddle" to the sea and is covered with the ruins of what remains of this very important structure.

Local tradition has assigned to some of these structures names that indicate religious function but in reality they were all thermal pools. We can distinguish four main sectors centered on the main pool: the Bath of the so-called Temple of Diana, the Bath of the so-called Temple of Mercury, the Thermal Pool of Soisandra and the Thermal bath of the so-called Temple of Venus. The stuctures were supplied both with water from the many local thermal springs as well as from the Augustean aqueduct that passed nearby at higher elevation on its way to serve the Piscina Mirabilis at Bacoli.

Currently the part of the baths that is visible is that section that was in the past the upper section; bradisisms in the area have caused a portion of the complex to sink below sea-level.

In 1962 the scholar R.F. Paget explored a narrow gallery in the upper sections of the Thermal Bath of Venus dug into the interior of the hillside along a 350-meter front and terminating in a rectangular chamber. He claimed to have found the famous underground temple of the Cimmerians: the Oracle of the Dead. Archaeologists, however, maintain that the tunnel and chamber had no cultural function but served rather to capture vapors emanating from the subsoil.

Our photos: Baia thermal baths

Video: The Thermal Baths of Baia

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News from Abroad

17 August 2019

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