Memory of Water: Museum Under the Baths of Caracalla
Architect: Fabio Fornasari, Bologna, Italy
Location: Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy
The subterranean exhibition displays 45 marble artefacts expressly restored for this purpose, which have never been exhibited before. These include giant figurative capitals representing Hercules, Venus and Mars found in the frigidarium (cold room) and natatio (swimming pool), as well as fragments of a large bas-relief, which Caracalla had crafted to commemorate his martial activities, modelled on the Column of Marcus Aurelius and Trajan's Column. The bas-relief documented various campaigns against northern peoples in around 200 AD, and showed scenes of battles and military life.
The exhibition is located in two parallel tunnels. Starting from the entrance stairs, visitors are first conducted to two exhibition islands concerned with the gyms and the frigidarium, and then on to the second tunnel with islands dedicated to the natatio and the libraries.
To create the desired effect, the coloured parts were treated with a little dirt and a thin layer of resin with "glossy" chromatics, to give the symbolic water surface the appearance of movement.