If you’re planning to go to Tuscany, get ready to visit an amazing wonderland, like Alice’s and to be surprised every step you take.
This freezing and variable time of the year is not perfect for touring open-air some of the most beautiful villages of the region, so thermal destinations could be an interesting alternative to enjoy some relaxing moments and visit gorgeous places that always surround modern spas in Tuscany.
In Tuscany, in fact, there is the highest number of thermal centers in all Italy, thanks to all water deposits (whose temperature goes from 25° and 54°), well known all around the world for their therapeutic properties, aimed to treat vascular, rheumatic, respiratory, urinary diseases.
If you have free time for a trip or even a short visit to Tuscany, there you’ll find some suggestions and ideas for planning a wonderful and relaxing itinerary among Tuscan spa centers, surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes that have no equal all around the world. Obviously, you shouldn’t have necessarily some kind of disease for joining a thermal destination: modern centers are provided with all kind of technologies for offering a complete service dedicated to body’s wellness and beauty, so what are you waiting for?
In the province of Siena you’ll find plenty of spa, since it’s the richest area of natural thermal waters in all Tuscany: there, besides taking care of your body, you’ll have the chance to explore a marvellous territory, characterized by Val d’Orcia gentle hills (declared an Unesco World Heritage Site), the particular Crete Senesi and the green nature of Mount Amiata.
Between the provinces of Siena and Grosseto, the natural thermal waters of Saturnia and Petriolo offer a varied choice for enjoying total relax and curative wellness, from the free hot thermal pools amidst nature, to the luxurious and modern centers offering all kind of treatments.
Set in Val d’Orcia territory, in the Natural and Cultural Artistic Park to be more precise, Bagno Vignoni is one of the oldest and most famous thermal location of the region, well known for its Romanic pool situated in the center of the main square and surrounded by a landscape of rare beauty, a few steps from San Quirico and Castiglione d’Orcia and Pienza, perfect destinations for a wine-and-food tour in the area.
Located at a short distance from Bagno Vignoni, there’s another thermal location that is worthy your while, Bagni San Filippo, offering two different types of thermal waters: sulfurous, gushing out from Acqua Bianca rocks, and muddy, but totally white, of the White Whale pools.
If you’re planning, instead, a thermal trip dedicated even to traditional wine, food and local recipes, Chianciano Terme is another interesting place. Set between Val d’Orcia and Valdichiana, it’s the perfect thermal base for exploring the surroundings, where you’ll find other famous and wonderful destinations of Tuscany, such as Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano. Siena, home to the most famous palio in the world, is located at a short driving distance as well; besides its beautiful architectural and artistic treasures, it’s also very renowned for the traditional cakes, typical of Christmas time, like panforte, panpepato, ricciarelli, cavallucci and copate…all really worthy to be eaten, believe me (see the end of this article for going deeper into cakes explanation).
Close to the borders between Chianti and Val di Chiana, there’s Rapolano Terme, a little town surrounded by the marvellous Crete Senesi and well-known for the two thermal spas of San Giovanni and Antica Querciolaia, which offer innovative and modern wellness treatments, as well as the latest technologies for specific diseases.
Going southern towards the borders with Umbria, there’s San Casciano dei Bagni, third in Europe for its water flow (42 thermal springs gushing out at an average temperature of 40 degrees) and included in the Borghi più belli d’Italia – The nicest villages in Italy – official list for the particular and wonderful urban shape and its architectural and artistic jewels. This is a town which actually deserves more than just a short visit: its old city center is really amazing, the spas offer quality and special welcoming to guests (that’s why it has also gained the Bandiera Arancione – Orange Flag – award) and food is…delicious Tuscan food!! Besides the classic products such as wine and olive oil, there are many traditional recipes that you shouldn’t miss out; in particular one, you should try i Ciaffagnoni: big water and flour pancakes fried and covered with sugar or pecorino cheese…the choice is up to you!!
Moving northern towards Florence, close to the homeland of Renaissance par excellance, there’s Gambassi Terme, thermal location surrounded by the Val d’Elsa landscape, whose thermal establishments, dating back to the past century, have been recently restored and are particularly indicated for the treatments of digestive diseases.
Near Pisa, historical bitter enemy of Florence, you’ll find Casciana Terme with its beautiful thermal village, and the curative hot (about 37 degrees) waters of San Giuliano Terme, known since Roman era. Pisa with the famous Miracle Square and the Leaning Tower is at a short driving distance, and Lucca, the one-hundred churches town, home to the delicious buccellato and the walking walls, is at only 15 minutes driving distance.
Situated at a stone’s throw from Lucca, Montecatini and Monsummano Terme (province of Pistoia) are two historic and renowned thermal locations: the former used to be a popular destinations for vip and important people of all around the world especially at the beginning of last century, attracted by water curative properties and the quality luxurious accommodation services of the town. The latter is well-known as well, thanks to its innovative and modern spa, Grotta Giusti; the name comes from a natural thermal cave, whose curative steam is still used for offering thermal baths and other kind of wellness treatments.
Going southern to the seaside, close to that coastline commonly referred to as Costa degli Etruschi (for all the archeological remains that have been found over years belonging to one of the most important Etruscan settlement of all Italy), there’s Venturina, another nice thermal location. For all those who are planning a thermal vacation (for both enjoying relaxing moments and taking advantage of curative waters) in a marvellous location, this is a perfect base for exploring the surroundings: fantastic seasides and the sauvage nature of Maremma, absolute queen of the up country.
We’ve come to the end of our virtual thermal tour around Tuscany, I hope you’ve found some interesting ideas for visiting our marvellous region in this period of the year. Maybe sun won’t be your best travel mate, but you could remind of Summer nice weather by taking some hot, thermal and relaxing baths 🙂
Have a nice thermal trip!
About Chiara Ricci
Chiara was born in Pescia, where the province of Pistoia borders with Lucca, has lived and studied in both Florence and Pisa for several years. Traveling is her second passion... Her first one? To swim, but up to now it's still impossible for her to explore Tuscany and the world swimming so she has to use other means!