Tuscany is associated with picturesque hills, rows of cypresses, charming villages, delicious cuisine and fine wine. Few people know, that after an exhausting sightseeing can indulge themself in blissful laziness in one of four hot springs available to all for free.
When I was planning a trip to Tuscany I assumed, that we visit all four generally available thermal springs, which I knew. I expected, that they will be identical, meanwhile each one was different. They were differed with water temperature and rotten eggs 🙂 aroma intensity. Therefore, I decided to present them to you by creating the TOP 4 ranking. I read, that these hot springs come from the crater of Monte Amiata and being rich in minerals have medicinal properties. They help to respiratory conditions, including asthma, allergies, dermatological diseases, arthritis, rheumatism, and even orthopedic conditions.
My Tuscan hot spring ranking
Place number 4 – Bagno Vignoni
Who of you watched the movie „The Shadow Dancer (2005)”, which was set in Val d`Orcia? There’s a scene in which the main character Weldon Parish jumps into a blue pond. It’s Bagno Vignoni, but not the one described in the guidebooks pool in the center of town. Pond with the film is in the bushes near the town and there where everyone can enjoy a pleasant and health baths. What is the advantage of these springs? A large pond like a swimming pool, where you can swim. The main drawback is the water temperature in the pond, away from hot water, because is approx. 26 oC. Perfect place for a summer heat. Smell? Almost imperceptible.
How to get there? The following map show how to rich the place and where you can park your car. Then is only a short walk to the pond visible on the map above point B. I remind you, that the map you can zoom in and out, is typical Google Maps.
Place number 3 – Terme di Saturnia
The most famous and most spectacular. The water has a temperature of 37 oC, but rather at the top ponds, the lower ponds are cooler. Smell estimate at low intensity. The area, where you can swim is the largest of all four springs. Why did Terme di Saturnia take the third place? Firstly I’d be lying saying, that I wasn’t basked. Second tourist crowd is definitely not what I like.
How to get there? Before the village of Saturnia coming from the Montemerano direction turn left near brown sign directing to the Cascate del Mulino. You will find there a large free (at least off season) parking place.
Place number 2 – Bagni di Petriolo
Centuries ago their ailments treated here, Medici, House of Gonzaga and prominent church leaders led by Pope Pius II, the founder and principal uprising of Pienza. According to literature the water has a temperature of 37 oC up to 43 oC. Maybe the water at the discharge actually has the + 43 oC, but in the ponds located in the river definitely approx. + 37 oC. Although water is hot and even on a cold day you can bask. Smell? The most intense of all four springs. Let me get this straight: in Bagni di Petriolo stinks! Following this theme, whoever had a chance to smell the sulfur swamps on the island of Vulcano know what I mean. The mud on Vulcano smells like someone farted after eating beans, but the water in Petriolo stink like tanker emptying neighbor’s septic tank. But how smooth is the skin after bath! And hair! At first I thought, that the first thing we do after returning to the Agriturismo, will be a long shower. However, when we arrived (we drove over an hour), hair dried and proved to be silky smooth. We held up with the bath until morning.
How to get there? Bagni di Petriolo is located next to the SS 223 Siena – Grosseto, approx. 34 km southwest of Siena. Coming from Siena, exit at Terme di Petriolo and go approx. 5 km. Bagni is located just off the road, I’m sure you will feel it without seeing.
and the winner is … – Bagni San Filippo
The unanimous winner of my TOP 4 ranking of the Tuscan thermal springs is Bagni San Filippo. The hottest of all four, the spring in the beginning has 52 oC! Water flows on the limestone rock (picture below) for small ponds and then flows into the river. The highest paddling pool (picture at the beginning) has such a high temperature, that it is difficult to enter it, not to mention about to seat. The most pleasant is the pool at the bottom of the rock (second image below). The smell of these spring is medium intense, after some time imperceptible. It was second after the Petriolo thermal spring, which we visited. Encouraged by the prospect of silky hair I soaked and soaked them. As it turns out, in the water there was much more calcium, than in the waters of Petriolo and after drying my hair became stiff as dried-mop. They recovered smoothness after the third wash. Learning from my mistakes please save your hair.
How to get there? Coming from San Salvatore, just after the entrance to the town of Bagni San Filippo, turn right heading for Fosso Bianco. Alongside the road designated with white line free parking places. After parking the car, you should reach (point B on the map below), then through the forest path to the right of the road approx. 500 m.
If due to the very limited time you have to choose just one of the Tuscan hot spring, I recommend You either Bagni San Filippo or Bagni di Petriolo. Satisfaction Guaranteed!