Most likely dating back to Ancient Roman times, the Bagni di Lucca thermal springs acquired great renown in the 11th century at the time of the countess Matilde di Canossa and became one of the most elegant thermal spas in Europe in the 19th century.
Bagni di Lucca was once a destination for the elite of European tourism prior to the popularity boom of beaches, which meant that this corner of Lucchesia – referred to by the English as the “Switzerland of Tuscany” - was swiftly forgotten. It was actually the English who first discovered Bagni di Lucca and its waters’ healing powers, loving it so much that it became a second homeland.
The town became an exclusive retreat for Europe’s nobility and diplomats, traces of the British boom can still be seen today. Lucca’s court and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany welcomed illustrious guests such as the poets Byron, Shelley, Lever, Giusti and Monti, followed in the 1900s by Carducci, Pascoli and Montale; writers such as Dumas and musicians like Strauss, Listz, Paganini, Puccini and Mascagni; politicians and rulers such as Napoleonides, Queen Margherita, D’Azeglio and Galeazzo Ciano; religious figures like San Luigi Gonzaga and Santa Gemma Galgani, and even Popes Sixtus IV and V.