Tuscan Spas | What a rich landscape in Tuscany!
If you are in the splendid Orcia Valley, you should not miss Bagni San Filippo, the oldest spa in the world, with its natural springs.
The hot springs were discovered by Filippo Benizi, who in 1271 escaped to the hermitage in the wild valley, which was inaccessible at the time, to avoid being elected Pope. The place and church were named after him, as he was later canonized. The small, milky white Rio Bianco carries 38°C to 52°C hot water that contains sulfate, calcium (carbonate) and magnesium as well as sulfur. It is captured in San Filippo itself in a small thermal bath. For little money, you can spend the whole day floating in the water, using the mineral-rich mud as a fango or scrub, inhaling the health-giving vapors, and indulging in the wonderful sensation of bathing in the midst of a shimmering white-turquoise opal.
However, if you leave civilization behind and take a short walk along the Rio, you will be rewarded with great nature and contemplation of peace and quiet. Not far from the village, the calcareous waters have caused the “Baleno Bianco”, the “white whale” to grow. The unique sinter terrace resembles the head of a mighty whale and used to be climbed to bathe in the natural tubs formed at the top. In the meantime, the “whale” is protected as a natural monument and may not be entered. But every bend of the brook offers new “bathing tubs”, surrounded by beautiful greenery and intact nature, so that one actually hardly gets ahead, because every scour tempts to take a bath.
If you follow the meandering stream towards the source, it becomes quieter, tranquility is transmitted to the people who distance themselves in mutual re- spect and let the inner contemplation work in this magical place. The “retreat”, the “retreat”, is proverbial, the energy of the place becomes palpable and takes you back to its originality for the moment. San Filippo, but also the other natural hot springs are worth a visit all year round, thanks to the hot springs, because enveloped by the warmth of the water you can enjoy a unique natural spectacle when it is cold: Rising vapors and clouds of mist conjure up mystical atmospheres, bring fantasy worlds to life, you sub- merge yourself and surrender to the imagination....
Natural and historical spas exert their special charm, but no less so are the elegant spas and baths perfect destinations for relaxation and to discover Tuscany with all your senses. The fabulous Fonteverde Spa Center in San Casciano dei Bagni is one example, the unique Grotta Giusti Spa with its 200 meters long natural thermal grotto another. Or Bagni di Pisa and the thermal baths of Sassetta, which together with the biodynamically managed agriculture of La Cerreta form a highly exclusive ensemble.
Not to be forgotten is the town of Montecatini Terme (UNESCO spa town and Great Spas of Europe) with its many architecturally impressive thermal baths and spas of different centuries. Among the most famous are Terme Tettuccio, designed by Gaspare Maria Paoletti, and Terme Leopoldine. Gorgeous Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau buildings establish Montecatini’s reputation as a unique spa town and center of Art Nouveau..
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