While Tuscany is known for its hot springs and spa towns, the neighboring region of Emilia Romagna has its share of thermal waters too. Salsomaggiore Terme is one of Emilia Romagna’s top spa towns, featuring a beautiful Art Deco thermal spa, Terme Berzieri. Salsomaggiore Terme is also a great place to go because of its proximity to several interesting castles and medieval towns that you can easily visit as day trips.
Plan Your Visit to Salsomaggiore Terme
Frequent regional trains from Fidenza (on the rail line between Parma and PIacenza) arrive in Salsomaggiore Terme in under 10 minutes and the station is right in town. To visit castles and other towns, it’s best to have a car. The town center is a pedestrian zone but there are convenient parking lots.
Hotels are generally inexpensive although there are a few more luxurious choices. We stayed at Albergo Carancini, an inexpensive choice with great owners right by Mazzini Park and just outside the pedestrian zone. From our room we had a good view into the town center and of the side of Terme Berzieri, especially pretty at night.
Things to See and Do in Salsomaggiore Terme
Like most Italian spa towns, the main things to do in Salsomaggiore Terme are relax and take the waters but there are several art deco, or Liberty style, buildings worth looking which make a nice walking itinerary through town.
- Berzieri Thermal Spa, the town’s stunning landmark, was started in 1913 and inaugurated in 1923. It’s a top example of an art deco spa and its interior is also beautiful. Grab a seat at one of the bars across the piazza and enjoy the view. It’s open Fridays through Sundays starting at 10AM and sometimes other days – see hours and price.
For information about visiting the thermal spas, events, and maps go to the tourist information office in the beautiful Warowland Building, built in 1914, in Piazza Lorenzo Berzieri. There’s also a shop selling thermal water products and a pretty inner courtyard with a garden.
A feature of many spa towns is parks where you can walk or relax. Mazzini Park is a large green space filled with trees, walking paths, flower beds, children’s playground, and a small lake. The smaller Corazza Park is next to the main pedestrian street. Tree-lined streets with flower beds make pleasant places to stroll, too.
Castles and Towns to Visit Nearby
- Castell’Arquato, 20 kilometers away, is a picture-perfect medieval hill town with a castle and Romanesque Church at the top.
- Vigoleno, 11 kilometers west of town, is a well-preserved castle that you can visit. You don’t have to climb a hill to get to the castle but you can climb its tower for great views. The borgo, or tiny village, is enclosed by medieval walls. Be sure to visit the Romanesque Church of San Giorgio.
- On the way to either place, stop to see the 11th century castle of Scipione, now a bed and breakfast, in a tiny hamlet.
- A few kilometers south, see the Romanesque Church of San Giovanni in Contignaco and the castle on the other side of the road.
- The bigger town of Fidenza has a fantastic Romanesque Church and one long main street, Via Cavour, with good shops in the pedestrian zone. For regional foods, stop in at Latteria 55. For designer shopping outlets, head to Fidenza Village, just outside town.
- If you have more time you can visit the Roman ruins of Velleia 35 kilometers to the west, Chiaravalle Abbey 15 kilometers north, Verdi’s town of Busseto 25 kilometers north, the town of Fontanelatto with a castle, or the Masone Labyrinth, said to be the world’s largest labyrinth.
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