Tuscany is the queen of thermal tourism in Italy: we shortlisted the best 5 thermal baths to relax and enjoy the best treatments.
Rolling hills, excellent wines and Renaissance art.
The first things that come to mind when talking about Tuscany.
However, we often forget an attractive aspect of this region: thermal baths and spas.
Tuscany has the highest number of thermal baths and wellness centres in Italy. Since Roman times, "wellness pilgrims" pay a tribute to the many hot pools scattered in the region.
Visitors are spoiled for choice: Tuscany is packed with free baths, magnificent spas surrounded by greenery and more luxurious resorts.
Rich in minerals, Tuscan thermal waters flow at high temperatures (up to 50°C) and are used to treat skin and respiratory diseases.
You can spend a relaxing day at the free hot pools or splurge on a full weekend at the spa, sleeping in one of the many excellent resorts.
Here are the 6 best thermal baths in Tuscany: find out where to bathe for free, where to enjoy the best wellness treatments and also where to drink the mineral waters for hydroponic therapies.
Do you need to relax, detox or energise your body?
Whatever the goal, get ready for a wellness holiday at the thermal baths of Tuscany.
5. Chianciano Terme
A view of the outdoor pools at the Terme di Chianciano (photo credits: Terme di Chianciano Facebook).
The Terme di Chianciano are a gem tucked away in the Val d’Orcia, a land of picturesque villages, vineyards and rolling hills.
The thermal and mineral waters of Chianciano are known since ancient times for their beneficial properties and are considered to be a panacea for liver diseases.
The spa is located near Chianciano city centre, not far from Pienza and Montepulciano, famous in the world for wine, meat and cheese.
The selling point of the Chianciano thermal baths are the innovative Sensory Spas, a series of wellness programs aimed at revitalising body and spirit of the visitors. Perfect for relaxing and energising, these "sensory paths" also include the "Path of Taste", a healthy buffet made with local products at km 0.
These baths consists of two thermal parks connected to each other and surrounded by greenery: the Acqua Santa Thermal Park and the Parco di Fucoli.
Do not miss the Theia Thermal Pools (900 square metres of indoor and outdoor pools, with night openings) and the Terme Sillene (for inhalation treatments, mud treatments and rehabilitation).
it is also possible to try the hydroponic therapies which consist of drinking spring water following the health program recommended by a specialists.
If you are passionate about Etruscan history, take a look at the nearby Necropolis of Pianacce (in Sarteano) and the Archaeological Civic Museum of Chianciano Terme.
4. Parco dei Mulini in Bagno Vignoni
The ancient tank in the main city square of Bagno Vignoni, filled with water from the hot spring.
The tiny village of Bagno Vignoni has been on the map for "thermal tourism" since Roman times.
Loved by famous people such as Lorenzo de' Medici and Catherine of Siena for its healing waters, this spa is close to the Via Francigena (connecting Canterbury to Rome) and was therefore a resting place for pilgrims en route to Rome.
The uniqueness of Bagno Vignoni is the sixteenth-century pool in the main square of the town, built right above the original source of thermal water.
Surrounded by mediaeval buildings, the 49-metres long pool is filled with hot spring water. You cannot bathe in it, but fear not, Bagno Vignoni offers a valid alternative.
If you want to bathe for free, you can head to the Parco dei Mulini, consisting of several free pools. The water here is channeled directly from the hot pool in the square and it's slightly colder (but still enjoyable): this particular water is rich in sulphates and magnesium and it's excellent for treating rheumatism and arthritis.
There are no changing rooms or bathrooms, so keep this in mind when visiting the free thermal baths.
If you want to treat yourself to a luxury experience while enjoying the waters of Bagno Vignoni, Adler Spa Resort Thermae is the perfect place.
This resort boasts thermal pools with healing waters, steam baths, a spa, a park with sun loungers, but also a restaurant with piano bar and bright rooms overlooking the hills.
A magical place to relax mind and body, but also the ideal starting point for exploring the Val d'Orcia.
3. Montecatini Terme
The Terme di Montecatini are one of the most famous spas in Italy and in the world, with 700 years of history.
Montecatini was included by UNESCO among the "Great spa cities of Europe".
The baths features four different thermal waters (Leopoldina, Regina, Tettuccio and Rinfresco), each one with different beneficial properties. The springs are fed by an aquifer about 80 meters deep and their waters are rich in minerals.
The Terme di Montecatini are also popular due to their architecture, with Art Nouveau and Neo-Gothic buildings, where visitors can enjoy different wellness centres:
- Terme Tettuccio: the most famous thermal baths in the city, with majestic architecture and a garden with ancient trees (it can be visited at an additional cost of €6). Apart from the usual pools, here you can drink the 4 different waters, practicing the hydroponic therapy (which consists of drinking these spring waters to cure constipation and liver or stomach disorders). In addition, at Terme Tettuccio there is a shop to buy products from the spa's cosmetic line.
- Terme Redi: perfect for inhalation therapy, mud therapy and highly recommended to treat pharyngitis, bronchitis and joint pain.
- Terme Excelsior: swimming pools, wellness services and additional space to host meetings, conferences and events.
The city of Montecatini Terme is located near Pistoia, in the heart of the Valdinievole, between Florence and Versilia. It is a perfect base to exploring the Tuscan cities of art, Viareggio seaside and the villages of Pescia and Monsummano Terme.
2. Terme di Saturnia
The scenic "Cascate del Mulino", or Mill Falls, the free thermal baths in Saturnia.
The Terme di Saturnia are one of the most famous thermal baths and spa resorts in Italy.
The healing properties of the water feeding the baths have been known since the Etruscan and Roman times.
The spring water flows in the heart of Mount Amiata for about 40 years before reaching the surface at a temperature of 37.5°C, enriching itself with sulphur, magnesium and calcium during its journey.
According to one of the myths, the god Saturn threw a lightning bolt from the sky to calm the war-torn men, creating a crater from which boiling water started to flow.
Legends aside, the hot spring is located inside a large thermal bath called Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort, including the thermal centre, a spa and a golf course.
The atmosphere is magical and the dress code is white (you can rent towels and bathing suits at the property if you don't have them). Visitors can enjoy indoor and outdoor pools with different water temperatures, a renowned wellness centre and waterfall hydromassage jets - a really unique experience.
The spring waters flow into the Gorello stream well beyond the spa and create, not far away, the Cascate del Mulino (or "Mill falls").
These pools are free and open all year round.
Here you can enjoy the beneficial effects of water in large limestone pools surrounded by the wild nature of the Maremma countryside: a different approach than a large spa, but no less fascinating. Do not miss the opportunity to try a night swim in the waterfalls: don't forget to bring a torch, of course! Car parking is free and there are no changing rooms.
1. Rapolano Terme
The fabulous sunset over the outdoor pool of the Terme San Giovanni in Rapolano.
The village of Rapolano Terme stands in the middle of the rolling Clay Hills of Siena.
This small town was known in the past for two reasons: its rich travertine quarries and its sulphurous waters.
Here the thermal waters flow at a temperature of about 39° and are a blessing for those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis and respiratory tract disorders.
Visitors looking for a wellness holiday can choose from two well-established thermal baths: the Terme San Giovanni and the Terme Antica Querciolaia.
The Terme San Giovanni is a fantastic thermal park consisting of three thermal pools (two of which are covered) and boosting a wide range of wellness treatments, a restaurant and a resort.
From the outdoor pools you can enjoy the sunset over the tree-lined hills of Siena and gaze at the stars during the weekend evening openings. The cost of the ticket varies depending on the day and time of entry. There are also discounts for children.
The other bath is the Terme Antica Querciolaia, closer to the city centre. This historic bath fascinated and cured people like Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The baths features numerous indoor and outdoor pools and an enviable package of beauty, wellness and medical services.
Rapolano Terme is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing weekend and certainly does not lack the choice: the Terme San Giovanni have greater appeal thanks to their spectacular views, while the Terme Antica Querciolaia have more outdoor space and pools of higher level.
A dilemma to be solved only by visiting both places.
The free pools of the Bagni San Filippo, a unique Tuscan experience surrounded by nature.
Tuscany offers a wide choice for those who want to spend a relaxing day at the spa.
If you still can't decide which thermal bath to visit in Tuscany, we have a few more options for you.
Lovers of free spas, unite! You should definitely take a dip in the thermal baths of Bagni San Filippo in Val d’Orcia. This is a very scenic area within the Fosso Bianco stream, with small waterfalls and lakes with a temperature of around 48°C, with mineral-rich waters. The experience is unique, also thanks to the beautiful contrast of colours: the turquoise of the water, the white of the limestone pools and the green of the thick forest surrounding this magical place.
San Casciano dei Bagni is considered one of the most beautiful small villages in Italy; it also features 42 hot springs with water reaching up to 40° C. In San Casciano there are two free baths (Bagno Grande and Bagno Boscolo) and the luxurious Fonteverde Resort.
Near Livorno, you can visit the Terme di Sassetta, surrounded by the chestnut trees of the Maremma region. Rather small, but unique in beauty, the pools of this spa are fed by 51°C hot water rich in sulphates and minerals, perfect for treating respiratory diseases.