Our tour must start from Montecatini Terme (Pistoia), considered the leading spa town in Italy. Its spring waters are rich in precious minerals, used in therapies since the Roman Empire. Today it is well equipped for relaxing holidays with its nine thermal centres, 200 hotels, 460.000 square metres of parkland and extremely elegant shops. The first establishments were built between the 14th and 15th centuries but the actual structure dates back to the second half of the 18th century. Thanks to its curative waters, Montecatini reached the peak of fame during the 20th century. The Belle Époque period also helped define the look of the thermal baths, decorated in the Art Nouveau style.
Going south, we’ll find Gambassi Terme, in the heart of Tuscany, near the Valdelsa region, among the hills covered with cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards. This ancient town – also famous for its glass production – was inhabited by Etruscans and Romans before becoming a stop-over destination for pilgrims on the Via Francigena in the Middle Ages. In Gambassi we’ll find a beautiful resort with a recently restored building where the pools dispense curative Salsa di Pillo waters.
Along the Via Francigena, you’ll also find Bagno Vignoni, at only 50 kilometers from Siena. Its thermal baths were first enjoyed by the Romans and then became popular, thanks to their position, with Christian pilgrims who travelled towards Rome and used to stop there for a rest. At the centre of Bagno Vignoni, in piazza delle Sorgenti, there’s a 49-metre-long rectangular basin of steamy water. You can’t actually bathe in it, but it’s a wonderful sight and evidence of the area’s past. The volcanic spring of Bagno Vignoni offers a wide range of therapies, including mud baths, for various degenerative forms of arthritis and rheumatism.
Not far from there, check out Chianciano Terme, located between Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia. It combines centuries of tradition with avant-garde technologies focused on health. The thermal parks of Fucoli and Acquasanta boast water that is often used to treat liver diseases. During Roman times the curative powers of Chianciano waters became a good reason for setting and many villas were built there along the way. Today Chianciano Terme is considered one of the best health resorts in Italy, with more than 12.000 visitors on a given day, hosted by 200 different accommodation structures.
Walking through the Val d’Orcia we’ll end up in Bagni San Filippo, in the province of Siena, not far from Monte Amiata. Here the natural thermal springs are on record since the Middle Ages. The greenery all around is luxurious and the “Fosso Bianco” (White Moat), a white and calcareous stream that flows into many waterfalls and natural pools, is both hot and cold: its waters measure from 25° to 52°. These baths are recommended for respiratory diseases and the natural mud you find there works well against skin diseases.
In the Maremma area of Tuscany, between Monte Amiata and the Albegna hills, we’ll find one of nature’s beautiful gifts, a place called Terme di Saturnia. Its thermal baths, with 37° hot water, natural pools and the Cascate del Mulino waterfalls, are made up of five different areas: hydrotherapy, beauty, stress management, nutrition and fitness. After a bath we invite you to see various sites like the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, built during the Middle Ages on the remains of a Roman temple.