Mirco PUCCI1 / Alessandro BLANCO2
(1Facoltà di Architettura, Firenze, Italy / 2Scuola di Dottorato in Archeologia, Roma La Sapienza, Italy)


The realization of public baths represent one of the most important urban operation of the ancient town, it is used to qualify a district or a new settlement zone. Often the building was financed by the emperor or by a rich citizen with the intent of some politic propaganda. This kind of places was used for hygiene purposes, cultural, social and entertainment requirements. Beside at this big “house for the people” another private plant was erected, with a smaller dimension but with luxurious installation and decoration. The Hadrian’s Villa, in Tivoli, with a whole set of noble and slavish structures, can be compared to a micro-urban system.

In this place there are noble plants (Heliocaminus and Small baths) and popular plants (Great baths).This research moves from a digital survey, considered as the fundamental starting point of any documentation; then, using the gathered data to determinate technologies and typological analogies between these structures, and then to understand the design and the logic of composition of these amazing buildings.


In the September 2010, our research team will take the digital survey of the Heliocaminus Baths in the Hadrian’s Villa, this will be another step in a long time survey work.

This research moves from the digital survey, considered as the fundamental starting point of any documentation; a preliminary elaboration is necessary from the architect, where the datum of the surveys opportunely treated brings to a series of approximate graphic, useful for a revision from the archaeologist for the best understanding of the structures. Returning on the site, in fact, it’s easier for both the figures to investigate elements and a necessary sign to bring the result back to the completion of the operative and divulgative representations, this process is aimed to avoid unattainable conclusions with a simple analysis of the site.

Subsequently, using the gathered data it is possible understanding the design and the logic in the composition of these amazing buildings and to determinate technological and typological analogies between them. Another investigation, complex but realizable in times using laser scanner data,  concern the dimensional comparison among the different buildings, thanks to this it is possible to analyze and to explain, for instance, different  choices related to the heating system adopted.

The objective of this research is to demonstrate how a digitla elaboration can bring to a more complex analysis; this is realized thanks to a collaboration between archaeologists and architects, according to a process aimed to define a more and more detailed and rich version of the same model. This must be considered as an open model, a three-dimensional space where the scholar can choose to operate transformations in any moment with logic of reuse and reinterpretation, integrating it with new discoveries or following survey.


Baths, Laserscan, documentation, architecture, survey