FrigidariumThe cold baths Thermal baths / Villa Romana del Casale / Piazza Armerina / Sicily / Italy
The frigidarium is the cold bath. It is located in the thermal baths of the Villa Romana del Casale, between the palestra and the anointment room. From the frigidarium there is access to the pool, piscina.
The cold baths are an important part of the Roman bath, and the were enjoyed after the steam and the hot baths.
The room is octagonal with six niches, two of which served as doorways, two gave access to the pools and the other four were probably for changing clothes.
Four boats with fishing cupids encircle the centre of the room, and in a circle around these are a multitude of sea monsters, Nereids, cupids frolicking in the water and animals of the sea, like fish and dolphins. The scene is reminiscent of the one in the Hall of Arion.
There are visible traces of later repairs of some fish and dolphins.
The E. apse is the entrance from the palestra. The mosaic in the apse is all but destroyed, but a man with a bucket in one hand and something over the shoulder is discernible.
The NE. apse shows a woman getting dressed after the bath. She is sitting down, shrouded in a blanket, while a slave on the left is rubbing her dry and another on the right is arriving with the clean clothes.
On the N. side of the room is the large piscina or plunge pool.
The mosaic in the NW. apse is almost complete lost, but to the left a slave is carrying forth some clothes.
The W. apse is the entrance to the anointment room. The mosaic is almost completely destroyed, but there have been three persons, as their feet remain.
The SW. apse has a well-preserved mosaic of a man getting ready for the baths. He is dressed in an embroidered tunic and he is about the take off his cloak. A slave to the right is taking off his sandals and another to the left is collecting the garments. This apse now serves as the entrance for the visitors, so the floor is covered by wooden planks.
The S. side has a niche with a small pool with three apses.
Finally, the SE. apse has a half lost mosaic with three persons. The person in the middle wears a toga with a coloured border and a slave in a tunic to the right. The person to the left has been lost. This mosaic is not visible because it serves as the exit for the visitors.
One of the niches has had its mosaic completely changed after the initial floor had been laid.
The SW. and SE. apses and the S. part of the central area are covered with planks and carpets to make a passage for the visitors, so these parts cannot be seen. The more distant parts, towards the piscina, are not clearly visible from the allowed viewpoints.
Prints of the photographs are available — read more here.
The pictures above are taken in the following locations:
- Anointment room - Where the bathers were anointed with oil and perfume (Thermal baths, Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy)
- Hall of Arion - A splendid hall with the legend of the poet Arion (Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy)
- Palestra - The gym or exercise room (Thermal baths, Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy)
- Piscina - The cold pool of the baths (Thermal baths, Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy)
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