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Water returns to Rome’s Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla, one of Rome’s most spectacular sites, unveiled a special pool that reflects the majestic ruins, in an interplay of the contemporary and ancient.

The pool, called “Lo Specchio” (“The Mirror”), measures 42 metres by 32 metre, creating a sparkling surface for the reflection of the remains of one of antiquity’s largest bath complexes.

Cultural officials said they were not trying to recreate one of Caracalla’s many baths, but rather to evoke the spirit of the site.

“The return of water is not only a wonder for its own sake, a joy for the eyes and the spirit, but is meant to be a concrete symbol of reconnection with the ancient world,” said Daniela Porro, special superintendent for cultural affairs in Rome.

The addition of the contemporary architecture “harmonises with the ancient one, to consolidate the role of the Baths of Caracalla as a centre promoting culture and art”.

Water jets and spotlights installed at the bottom of the pool create a play of water and light, suggesting the steam of the ancient baths.

A stage can be placed over the water for theatre and dance performances or concerts, officials said.

The installation opens to the general public on 13 April with a new ballet set to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”.

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