Tuscany’s hot springs and thermal waters have been known for their healing properties since ancient times. Towns have developed around many of these hot springs and in some of them, more modern spa facilities take advantage of the waters although there are still places you can enjoy thermal pools for free.
Here are 5 Tuscany towns where you can soak in the hot springs or take the waters. When you’re tired of seeing sights at a fast tourist pace, you may welcome a relaxing day at one of these.
In southern Tuscany, Saturnia is a top place to enjoy thermal pools for free. The public bathing spot at Cascate del Mulino is one of the most picturesque, with waterfalls cascading into pools. It’s also one of the smelliest due to the sulfurous water. Near the public springs there’s a hotel with a spa that offers thermal and traditional spa treatments if that’s what you prefer.
Bagni San Filippo
Bagni San Filippo is a tiny town with free hot springs that are a little more difficult to access than those of Saturnia. Waterfalls with sulfurous water flow into a stream and there are several places to bathe in natural tubs made from calcium carbonate. The most popular place is the Cascata Balena Bianca, or white whale waterfall. If you’re looking for something more private, try walking up the stream in the opposite direction to find smaller pools.
- Find out more: Bagni San Filippo and Cascata Balena Bianca
- We visited Bagni San Filippo as a day trip from Il Fontanaro Guest Houses in Umbria, highly recommended agriturismo lodging.
About 12 miles further north, in the beautiful Val d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni is a small town built around a Roman pool. While you can no longer bathe in the Roman pool, there are hot streams where you can soak your feet and deeper pools in the canyon below town. The best option is to get a day pass for the pools at Hotel Posta Marcucci, or better yet spend the night there. The two pools, filled with hot thermal waters, are set in a garden and have great views of the valley, a perfect place to relax.
- Hotel Posta Marcucci
- Bagno Vignoni can be visited as a day trip from Pienza or other places in the Orcia Valley
Montecatini Terme, on the train line between Florence and Lucca, is one of Europe’s biggest spa towns. Designed to be a place for people to go for relaxing and curative treatments, it has a laid-back, old-fashioned feel to it. Wander the tree-lined streets and parks, shop, and soak in the atmosphere. The top place to go is the Liberty-style Terme Tettuccio where people go to take the waters. The waters for drinking are said to have curative properties. In the afternoons, there’s usually a small orchestra or piano player and the grounds are beautiful. There are more modern spas with hot pools and typical spa facilities as well and some of the hotels have their own spas.
- Montecatini, with hotels in all price ranges, makes a good base for visiting this part of Tuscany. Find a Montecatini Terme hotel
- Find out more: Tuscany Spa Town of Montecatini Terme
- Montecatini Terme can be visited as a day trip from Florence
Near Montecatini, Monsummano Terme is a 17th century town known for its natural hot caves as well as healing waters. The top place to go is Grotta Giusti where you can go into the steamy underground caves that are divided into 3 areas called Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. Grotta Giusti also has a thermal pool, spa treatments, and a hotel with restaurant. The town was also a center for shoe production so if you also want to shop for shoes, this might be the place for you. Monsummano can be reached by bus from Montecatini.