Italy: Maremma’s Sulfurous and Sensual Thermal Baths
Thermal Baths: The experience we all deserve!
By Stephen Scott
Everyone envisions that weekend getaway, or perhaps even that single day, spent in, and around, exquisitely charming and relaxing thermal baths; passing hours of peaceful enjoyment enveloped by the beneficial properties that only hot natural mineral waters can provide the body and mind.
That said, it is often the high cost of these luxuries that shatter the dream. It is time to enlighten the budget-traveler to the fact that relaxing and rejuvenating in beautiful thermal baths is not only for the super-rich or the privileged few.
In fact, in the Maremma region of Italy, the undiscovered gem that lies between southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, visitors will find the stunningly beautiful, free or low cost, natural sulfurous thermal baths that will steal their hearts not their wallets.
Baths of Saturnia
The unique thermal baths of Saturnia, located in southern Tuscany, also known as “Cascate del Mulino” (or Waterfall’s Mill), is one of the most fascinating places in the Maremma; and, certainly among the most beautiful free spas in Italy. Mother Nature at her best, has created, over millennia, charming pools of limestone gently dugout by thermal waters generated from a natural-spring called Torrent of Gorello.
These sulfurous waters flow at a constant temperature of 99.5℉; and, thanks to the presence of thermal plankton have particularly beneficial effects for the skin, circulatory and motor systems. These natural pools are continually replenished with fresh thermal mineral waters forming a uniquely beautiful environment — which carries the visitor far away from the chaotic noise and stresses of daily life.
The waterfalls are open 24 hours a day every day, even in winter, and admission is absolutely free!
Also in the Maremma region of Italy, in the province of Grosseto, there is another spectacular thermal spring known as Bagni di Petriolo. These baths are located along the banks of the river Farma – immersed in a wooded landscape of amazing beauty.
The thermal baths sit just adjacent to ancient city walls erected by the Sienese back in 1404 (which makes Bagni di Petriolo a unique historical and exceptional example of medieval fortified baths). From this free spa jets precious sulfurous mineral water directly from a cavernous subterranean source deep in the earth.
As you move further from the shore, these thermal waters mix with that of the river which creates lower and lower temperatures, thus, allowing everyone to find his or her ideal spot which best suits and benefits – taking maximum advantage of the healing properties of these unique natural waters. The Bagni di Petriolo are maintained by an association of citizens who work passionately to keep them orderly and accessible to all.
Traveling into northern Lazio (the region of Rome), you’ll find the renowned baths of Bullicame (which are mentioned in the verses of Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno). Immersed in the countryside, just outside the city of Viterbo, they are among the most beautiful free spas in Lazio.
The baths are located approximately 1.5 miles from Viterbo, admission is free, and they’re open every day (both winter and summer) until 5 PM. The waters of the Bullicame spa reach a temperature of 136℉ at the source and are rich in sulfur, sulfate and bicarbonate. Due to this intrinsic composition (i.e., antiseptic, keratolytic and keratoplasty healing properties), these mineral waters do much more than just sooth, they rejuvenate!
Nearby (again, closer to Rome), just a few short miles from Civitavecchia, the traveler will find “Terme della Ficoncella” (named after a large fig-tree that surmounts a nearby hilltop). This complex consists of five sulfurous pools that are renowned for helping dermatological and joint problems.
Here the visitor can also enjoy the remains of an ancient Etruscan town, Aquae Tauri, that sits very close to this natural hot water source. The spa is run by an association that requires a small fee to take advantage of their services such as changing rooms, bar and camping areas.
The temperature of the water, which reaches 104℉, allows year-round benefit – even in mid-winter. The association’s mantra: come one, come all and enjoy!
Stephen Scott is an experienced travel professional who has been promoting hotels, resorts and travel destinations to North America and Europe for over twenty years. With that extensive background in tourism, he has brought an array of knowledge, experience, and success to independent hotels throughout the world. Scott is a graduate of the University of Arizona, speaks fluent Italian and currently resides in both Europe and the United States. He has decided to put his passion and knowledge to service by writing articles that educate and inspire his fellow travelers.
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