If you were to take a walk through the Baths of Caracalla, you would come across dozens of statues, many of them perched proudly in wall niches. These statues were not the cold stone of antiquity we see in museums today, but brightly painted statues that were sometimes gilded.
It's hard to imagine how opulent these ruins, now crumbling brick and concrete, once were. Floors, wall panelings, and columns were carved from a rainbow assortment of colored marble imported from the far corners of the Empire. Paint and brightly colored stucco adorned bare stone and walls. Roofs and floors covered with glass mosaics glittered in the sunlight that passed through holes in domed chambers. Many of these magnificent materials were robbed from the baths to supply later public monuments, such as cathedrals.
The Baths of Caracalla were not alone in their splendor. Excavations of other public Roman baths have turned up similar evidence of opulence, and even small baths were adorned to please the eye as well as the body.