Natural warm Springs

May 16, 2015


Natural warm springs in

A woman in a natural hot tub on the Farma river in PetrioloA quick round up of my favorite wild hot springs and historic bath towns in Tuscany (more detailed information on spas and rock pool bathing can be found in the single articles the links will lead you to).
WILDERNESS POOLS
  • PETRIOLO half an hour to the south of Siena. With its steaming hot water in the upper row of pools a favorite of mine on icy cold winter mornings. The Farma river passes right next to the hot springs. So be courageous and have a splash to try the benefits of kneipping.
  • SATURNIA the biggest, most southern and also Italy's best known (and loved!) wilderness pools. The closest option for a soak if you arrive from Rome. To be avoided on weekends.
  • FOSSO BIANCO in the Val d'Orcia is a spectacular sight hidden away in the woods below Bagni San Filippo. The shady surroundings make of these natural springs a nice location in the summer.
  • has a lovely pool below the small waterfall. However, the water arrives from the medieval thermal pool in the village square and looses most of its heat on its way down into the valley, which makes it warm enough for a swim only in summer.
The locations of Southern Tuscany's natural rock pools (see map below) are no longer a secret. So try to get the timing right. Early morning often works well if you're after a quiet dip and assures for a perfect ambiance and great photo opportunities with the steam raising in the first sun light. Or come for dinner time; from after 7.30 pm a lot of Italians are on their way back home for a plate of pasta. Night swims are normally a quiet alternative; unless you happen to find yourself surrounded by a young group of party crazy Italians. The Petriolo and Saturnia natural hot springs are also popular meeting places for the local gay scene.

HISTORIC THERMAL BATHS

Enough of nature, wilderness and hippie soaking? Tuscany has some great alternatives to do your thermal hygiene in true Marie Antoinette style.

  • FONTEVERDE SPA near San Casciano dei Bagni, with gorgeous views over UNESCO Heritage Val D'Orcia towards Monte Amiata, is one of the most exclusive spa hotels in Tuscany.
  • Aforementioned BAGNO VIGNONI - a tiny village in the Val D'Orcia has a big medieval stone pool en lieu of a town square and came to fame as one of the locations of Tarkovsky's Nostalghia film. The tiny medieval town is also lovely stop over for a quick ice-cream.
  • In Northern Tuscany MONTECATINI TERME is the spa town par excellence. The Art Nouveau thermal pools and bath houses make it evident why Montecatini Terme is one of the highly aesthetic members of the historic spa towns in Europe league.
If you had enough of all the medieval, Roman and liberty pools, drive on to Chianciano Terme. One of Tuscany's most busy spa towns is not much of a sight in itself, but the pools, steam baths and treatment options of the stylish Terme Sensoriali spa are a benchmark for contemporary design when it comes to hot water pools.
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