Talk about thermal baths, and the atmosphere of ancient Rome is immediately conjured up. Indeed, the baths were a hallmark of the Roman world. The bath complex we are about to visit is close to the River Tirso, amidst idyllic verdant landscape. Canoes can be hired for a trip along the river, for an even fuller immersion in nature. The small town of Forum Traiani – hence the present-day name of Fordongianus – was founded in the Late Republican era, on the initiative of Emperor Trajan, as a trading post between the communities of the interior and the ‘Romanised’ populations of the Gulf of Oristano. The Romans also built an especially imposing bath complex here on account of the presence of natural springs at a temperature of 56°C year round, still today used for thermal baths and mud treatments. The ancient baths, which were known as Aquae Ypsitanae, are organised on several levels and are divided into two establishments: the first dates from the 1st century AD, the second from the 3rd century AD. Adjoining the baths is an ‘L’ shaped building in opus vittatum mixtum, (alternating courses of stone blocks and bricks) with five chambers and two rectangular halls. One of the halls has frescos with candelabra motifs and gryphons, and can be dated to about 200 AD. It was perhaps a hospitium providing accommodation to users of the baths.