The habit of spas for the ancient Romans
Romans were in love with Terme. They enjoyed their free time while relaxing, playing table games, meeting friends or sometimes even making business affairs in the SPA. Usually, Romans were coming to the baths in the afternoon, after they closed their shops, and were staying for about few hours, leaving SPA just before the dinner time. The use of Terme was affordable for every social class. The entry ticket was costing as much as one glass of wine. Women and men baths were separated. Ladies baths were smaller, sometimes less decorated; or, when spas were not divided, it had different visiting hours for men and women. Slaves were taking care of clients, serving them, making sort of peeling, putting perfumed oils on the muscles, giving massages. Besides these pleasures, slaves were also offering more intimate service, illegal in the territory of Terme, but practiced, however.
Actually, in the ancient Roman cities like Naples or Pompeii, only a few richer people had their own wells in their houses. Poorer classes had to bring water from the public water fountains every day to their shops, home, or even to use it as drinkable water. That meant, that people just had to use public baths to keep their personal hygiene, making a visit to the SPA their daily routine.
Come funzionavano le terme ai tempi dell'antica Roma
Naples territory is volcanic, here still is happening bradyseism (word derives from the ancient Greek words "bradus", meaning slow, and "seism" meaning movement), super rare phenomenon - uplift and subsidence of the Earth's surface. Here, in the territory of Phlegraean Fields (it. Campi flegrei), thousands of years ago used to be many volcanoes, bigger and more dangerous than Vesuvius. After these volcanos erupted, as a consequence, good mineral waters started to flow from the underground as natural springs in a shape of cold or hot water, making a perfect environment for a natural SPA. That’s why in Italian public baths are called Terme, which translated from the ancient Greek means temperature, describing the temperature of these waters; and later it gets the name of SPA which is a short name coming from Latin “sanare per aquam” that means healing through the water.
According to the ancient Romans, passing from hot to cold temperature purified and invigorated the body. But also, fast change of the temperature was quite a big shock for a human body. This caused half deafness or sudden heart attacks, but back then no one understood that it was thanks to regular visits to the Terme. Not to mention, the pavement was so slippery, that provoked some serious injuries. If only the ancient Romans would have known about the flip-flops!
It was thought that clean body carries healthy soul. And in some aspects, that was true. Already, since the V century B.C. was known that Terme had incredible ability to relieve muscle and joint pain or even to cure some skin diseases. The water, in the territory of Naples, is rich in minerals, and, using Terme in the right way can help to calm down some ailments. Here you can find spas working by these old methods in Agnano, Bacoli, Baia, Pozzuoli, or one of the very famous SPA places Ischia island. Sure Romans knew how to enjoy life and one of their biggest inventions is Terme. So, come to experience this wonderful invention, Visit Naples and relax at the SPA!