Taking the Waters at Tuscany’s Historic Spas-1

Taking the Waters at Tuscany’s Historic Spas

Indulge in a day of pampering at one of Italy's famous thermal retreats

For centuries, people have come to Italy from all over the world seeking the healing waters of the country’s many natural hot springs. From the northern to the southern ends of Tuscany, every town seems to have its own local spring, and the residents all have a preferred place for soaking away life’s stresses and aches. There are so many to choose from, in fact, that picking a personal favorite could become a lifelong study. Here are a few places we recommend you start.

The high concentrations of dissolved mineral salts and gases give the thermal waters of Tuscany special therapeutic characteristics, making them ideal for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of the body. Stories are told throughout the region of the “miracles” experienced in these thermal baths. What will your story be?

Adler Thermae Spa

Adler Thermae SpaSituated on a hill above the Val d’Orcia in Tuscany is the Italian village of Bagno Vignoni, and the hamlet of San Quirico d’Orcia. The water is the main feature of Adler Thermae Spa, where it comes out of the spring at a temperature of 50° C (122° F).

The Spa consists of a 1000 sqm outdoor and indoor pool area, steam saunas, Turkish bath, Kneipp ice fountain and welcoming lounge areas. The park-like surroundings and panoramic views offer a blissful setting for restoring life and vitality to the body.

If you go: Make reservations for a visit to the Grotta Salina. The 38°C thermal water is enriched with Dead Sea salt to increase buoyancy, giving you a weightless feeling as your oxygen intake increases and your muscles relax.

Grotta Giusti

In the Province of Pistoi is the comune Monsummano Terme. It is a spa town with two thermae caves: Grotta Giusti and Grotta Parlanti. Grotta Giusti has recently undergone extensive renovations and is enjoying its grand reopening with a unique grotto and a deep, warm underground lake. This marvel stretches more than two hundred meters below the resort, and consists of three distinct chambers named Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.

In 1849, quarry workers found the entrance to the grotta as they moved a large boulder on the Giusti estate. It was then developed into a popular wellness destination featuring treatments for the respiratory system, the circular system and more.

If you go: Try spa diving. Discover the mysterious network of passages and underwater cavities in an amazing underwater experience. Marvel at untouched natural beauty and boost your immune system in the 34°C therapeutic water.

Centro Bernabò

Ancient marble octagonal pool at Centro BernaboBagni di Lucca is a comune in the Province of Lucca, a favorite destination of Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Bacocchio. She spent her summers ‘taking the waters’ in the thermal springs, and, as Duchess of Lucca for a time, was a key figure in the development of the area.

Dating all the way back to the early part of the 16th century, the water of Bernabò Bath is still surrounded by its original ancient architecture. The water comes from the ground at a temperature of 39° C, and guests are invited to take a relaxing hot bath before enjoying a massage or skin treatment.

If you go: Ask for the Shiatsu in Water Massage. This unique treatment is practiced in the thermal waters of the ancient marble octagonal pool. As the body experiences microgravity and stimulation along acupuncture meridian points, it naturally realigns to gently release harmful toxins and emotional tensions.


An hour south of Siena, and overlooking the majestic rolling hills of Val d’Orcia, San Casciano dei Bagni is one of the prettiest villages in Italy. It is the site of a well-known mineral water spring originally discovered by the Etruscans. Exceptionally popular among travelers in the 18th century, people still stop for a steam and a soak here before carrying on to Florence or Rome.

As it was once the summer residence of Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici, the Renaissance-era spa and palace on the site dominate the landscape. An extensive spa menu includes spa mud wraps, mineral water therapy, physical therapy and beauty treatments.

If you go: Make arrangements to enter the exclusive Bioaquam pool and ask for the Etruscan Itinerary. A combination of natural therapies such as the sauna, Turkish bath, and the Thermal Cave restore vitality to the body and mind; and when you’re ready to dine, enjoy fantastic views from the terrace.

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