8. The Roman Baths

Vicetia’s public baths complex was located at the southern edge of the forum and extended over the area between contra’ Pescherie Vecchie and contra’ dei Proti. The ruins of various rooms of the Roman baths are conserved and visible in the basement of the “Al Paradiso” restaurant. This includes the frigidarium, composed of a circular space with four small semicircular niches and the pool of cold water in the middle. The remains of other spaces, constructed in at least two building phases, feature opus caementicium foundations made of stone conglomerate and cocciopesto (lime mortar) still visible beneath a brick wall. In the later part of the baths’ lifespan, these spaces led to an ample hypocaust characterised by a heating system potentially serving a calidarium or a sauna. The cocciopesto ground plane is topped by small trachyte columns that originally supported a trachyte slab floor, creating an air space that enabled circulation of warm air, thereby heating the space above. Similar opus caementicium foundations were also discovered on the northern side of contra’ Pescherie Vecchie, together with the remains of a basin built of marble slabs.
The construction of the baths dates from the same period as the city’s other public buildings, around the first half of the 1st century BC.

View of the space with the hypocaust (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

View of the space with the hypocaust (Archive of the Veneto Regional Board for Archaeological Heritage)

Detail of the niche of the frigidarium (Archive of the Vicenza Natural history and Archaelogical Museum)

Detail of the niche of the frigidarium (Archive of the Vicenza Natural history and Archaelogical Museum)