Seven Best Spa Towns in Tuscany
Since the times of the Etruscans, people have traveled to the natural hot springs and spa towns of Tuscany seeking health and relaxation. Each “terme” is unique from the next. They can either be natural lakes and waterfalls, which sometimes are free, or modern spas, where the thermal water is collected and you can purchase amenities and treatments. These treatments can be anything from mud baths to massages to steam inhalations. In addition, each terme has a unique set of curative properties due to the various concentrations of gases and minerals located on the Earth’s surfaces. Carbon dioxide, for example, promotes drainage and strengthens the immune system, while sulphur relieves pain and aids in relaxation. The thermal baths are also thought to help a variety of aches and illnesses such as easing back pain, curing skin disorders, helping the respiratory tract and even preventing heart disease and diabetes. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that the Romans believed that they were created by divine thunderbolts that split the earth open, allowing the miraculous waters to flow!
Taking a good soak in a terme is a highly recommended way to enjoy your vacation! Here are our favorite spa towns in Tuscany:
In the mountainous caves of Bagni di Lucca, the waters are rich in calcium, bicarbonate and sulphate, which are particularly beneficial for rheumatism and skin problems. Mud applications can also help with arthritis and injuries. The temperatures typically range from 79 degrees to more than 122 degrees! So not only is this place picturesque, but it can also be enjoyed throughout the year.
Our closest villa is just a 30 minute drive away in Forte dei Marmi, at Casa del Mare.
The waters of Chianciano Terme became famous during the Roman era when they built numerous villas nearby. Today, it is considered among the finest health resort towns in Italy. There are more than a dozen spas here, ranging from cute and quaint to extreme luxury. Around town, there’s lots of lovely gardens and winding streets to stroll through. Here, you can not only soak and relax, but you can also eat your heart out, enjoy lively music, take dance courses, play tennis and then shop in classy boutiques. It’s located in one of our favorite areas of Tuscany, and we have a number of villas you can book such as Casa Azzura, Casa Carina, Casa dei Giardini, Casa del Cortile, Casa di Pietra, and Casa di Viti Rossi.
Located in the heart of Val d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni is a village with a spectacular 160 ft long pool in the center of town, instead of the usual piazza. You can’t actually bathe in this pool, but you can take a dip in the nearby Parco dei Mulini, which is free. Or you can relax at one of two hotels: the Hotel Posta Marcucci, which is popular with the locals, or the Hotel Adler Thermae, which is newer and has magnificent views. This town also has a lovely history. The waters here come from a deep, underground volcanic spring that was first discovered by the Etruscans. It later became a place of healing and refreshment for pilgrims who were traveling along the Via Francigena on their way to Rome. Many historical people have taken a swim here, including Lorenzo de Medici, Pope Pius II and Oscar Wilde.
Casa di Lusso and Casa Storica are two gorgeous villas located nearby.
Bagni San Filippo
A bit off the beaten path, Bagni San Filippo is a tiny town with hot springs, waterfalls and stunning calciferous formations that are surrounded by a beautiful forest. You’ll feel as if you’re in another world! Just walk along the sulfurous stream and you’ll find waterfalls and natural pools made of calcium carbonate. The most popular of these pools is the Cascata Balena Bianca, or the White Whale Waterfall, which is a waterfall over a massive calcium formation. Here, the hot water of the springs meets the cold water of the river, giving the water a white-blue color that contrasts spectacularly with the greenery of the forest. If you would like something more private, simply walk upstream to find several smaller pools.
We recommend staying at the beautiful La Bandita. This would be the perfect plan for a romantic getaway.
Terme di Saturnia is probably the most famous of the spa towns in Tuscany. It’s also one of the smelliest due to its sulfurous water. For over 3000 years, its thermal waters have flown into a natural crater at the slopes of Mount Amiata. There are two free public bathing spots – Cascate del Mulino and Cascate del Gorello. Del Mulino is the most picturesque with a series of small waterfalls cascading into pools, but it’s also the most crowded! To avoid the hordes of tourists, head over to del Gorello. Other pools are located in a number of hotels, restaurants, wellness centers and a golf course.
Montecatini Terme is one of the leading spa towns in Italy, not just Tuscany. The first spas here were built in the 15th century, but it was until the late 1800s / early 1900s that many of the big resorts were built. Il Tettuccio, for example, is a resort that is regarded as the symbol of this town. The waters were are not only used in therapies, but are also potable.
We recommend staying at Casa del Mare, which is by the beach and just a short drive away.