Diocletian Baths (Rome, Italy)

Construction time

  • Ancient history – 298-306 BC (Roman Baths)
  • Early modern period – 1565 AD (Cloisters)
  • Contemporary period – first half of the 20th century (Museum building)

The main conservation issue of the Diocletian Baths is related to the static of the ancient buildings, and to the heavy car and bus traffic around them (including two underground lines passing nearby). However, the Roman brickwork is also threatened by air pollution, heavy rains, winds and thunderstorms, which are becoming more and more frequent in the area. The presence of the surrounding gardens also increases the risk of fires, especially in case of thunderstorms. Besides that, the tall timber trees have already fallen on the Museum buildings. Floods are also a parameter that threats the site due to the remarkable raising of the planking level in the last three centuries and to the presence of underground rooms. These risks do not affect only the buildings themselves, but also the objects which they contain being seat of the National Roman Museum: marble sculptures and inscriptions, pottery, bronzes, paintings, stuccoes and mosaics.

The technological concept for the site of the Diocletian Baths is to demonstrate the usage of non-intrusive sensors in order to monitor the various risk factors. This approach aims to measure and inform stakeholders of the state of the heritage site in real time.

The inclusion of the site in the STORM trials allows the evaluation of use of novel, non-intrusive tools for monitoring and assessment of existing hazards caused by the combination of environmental and anthropogenic risks, augmented through the site’s location. Particularly useful is the implementation of sensors to monitor the static risk of the Roman buildings, which include concrete vaults more than thirty meters high, and are heavily stressed by the car and bus traffic around them, as well as by the underground lines passing nearby. Both the tested tools and STORM’s methodologies have to meet the particular needs and profile of the site, focusing on the protection of:

  1. Buildings (ancient, modern and contemporary).
  2. Objects of different materials (marble, stucco, pottery, etc.).