Bagni di Nerone (Baths of Nero)

Terme di Nerone (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
Terme di Nerone (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
The Bagni di Nerone (Baths of Nero) are located in Largo del Parlascio (a term that meant for the Germans bear fighting place) near Porta a Lucca (Gate to Lucca), opened in 1546 and decorated with a double sandstone frame. The two small doors on the sides were opened for pedestrian traffic, as the city's tram system passed through the main gate.
The Roman thermal baths of the first century. d. C., o Bagni di Nerone, were a very large complex, where the population went almost every day for hygienic reasons. The baths were fed by the Roman aqueduct of Caldaccoli, from the first century AD, today only partially visible near San Giuliano Terme, from where its route began. The involvement of Nero in the construction of the baths could not have happened, because the complex was dated to the last twenty years of the first century AD, therefore almost 20 years after the death of the emperor. Therefore, the origin of the name is to be found in the legend of San Torpé, a Pisan martyr, beheaded in 68 AD. The structure, square on the outside and octagonal inside, which still maintains the 4 perimeter brick walls, has been identified as the laconicum, for the hot air baths. We can still see the remains of the walls of the gymnasium, of the apodyterium (the changing room) and only two walls of the tiepidarium.
Near the baths there is the Brunelleschi's Bastion: during the lordship of Cosimo the Elder de’ Medici some fortification projects were started, including the construction of the Parlascio Bastion, which takes its name from the oldest gate, dating back to 1157 and incorporated into the structure. It is a monumental gate, which still shows some decorations on the shelves supporting the large arch. In 1435, Filippo Brunelleschi built an internal counter door and rebuilt the fourteenth-century tower, which has now disappeared, but the entire bulwark was completed only in 1543 by architect Nanni Unghero, under the government of Cosimo I. The whole structure was later converted into ice-house and so it remained until the early twentieth century. During the war it served as a bomb shelter.
Next to the so-called “Bagni di Nerone” is the church of San Torpé. The religious building is documented from the thirteenth century and belongs to the Discalced Carmelite friars. From 1260, the Church, extensively restored in the eighteenth century, preserves inside its main altar a silver bust containing the head of the Saint, considered one of the Patrons of the city.

The legend of San Torpé: In the first century AD, the Pisan Caius Silvius Torpetius, also known as Torpé, Torpete and Tropez, was an officer of the court of Nero. Those were the years following the passage of Peter the Apostle at the basilica of San Piero in Grado and Torpé, who converted to Christianity by being baptized by a hermit of Monte Pisano, was captured and tortured, but he died only as a result of his beheading, on 29 April 68 AD The symbol of his martyrdom is the common palm. The head was thrown into the Arno river and at the time of its discovery it was buried in the place where the church was later built. Torpé's body was abandoned in a boat at the mouth of the Arno, together with a cock (daytime protection and guide) and a dog (nocturnal). According to a legend, the boat travelled to the French coast, arriving in a small town called Heraclea and renamed Saint Tropez in honour of the saint whose remains it still guards.


Last update: 23/10/2020
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