The Badenweiler Roman bath ruins (Römische Badruine Badenweiler) are among the most significant Roman remains in Baden-Württemberg. To this day, the complex remains the best pre-served Roman spa north of the Alps.
When the Romans conquered this region in what is now southwestern Germany, they brought with them their established custom of bathing. Many of the thermal springs that had been used by the Celts became Roman spas. The bath in Badenweiler was constructed in several phases. In the second half of the first century AD, a small building housing two pools was erected. This was later followed by a reception area, changing facilities, the Roman equivalent of a sauna, with two cold pools, and stone terraces.
The Roman bath ruins have retained their symmetrical structure. The pools for warm and cold water still have their original surfaces. And large parts of the relaxation room and sauna area, which were lined with sandy limestone, also remain. The remains of the hypocaust heating system – a forerunner of today’s underfloor heating provide a further point of interest.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the distinctive bathing tradition also began to wane. The Badenweiler complex had long been forgotten – until it was rediscovered and excavated by Margrave Carl Friedrich von Baden in 1784. In the late 19 th century, the ancient spa received a more contemporary counterpart: marble Neoclassicalstyle baths that were extensively extended during the subsequent decades. The natural springs, with temperatures up to 26.4 °C, were enjoyed in Roman times and form the basis for Badenweiler’s status as a spa town today. Since 2001, a spectacular, multiple award-winning glass roof, designed by Stuttgart engineers Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner, has protected the historical site.
The permanent exhibition at the bath ruins offers an insightful look at the Roman culture of bathing and provides fascinating facts about the entire complex.References:
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.