Tuscany’s Saturnia Hot Springs: Relaxation and Wellness
Saturnia Hot Springs are a favorite destination for tourists to visit in Tuscany. They are located in Manciano, in the province of Grosseto: it is a thermal spring named as a closed homonymous town about 15 kilometers north of the center of Manciano. A place of relaxation and well-being, it is possible to bathe in the healing, hot water known since Etruscan-Roman times.
When we talk about the “Saturnia thermal baths,” we are not just talking about a single spa facility, but three separate complexes: the Saturnia Thermal Park, for which a fee is charged; the Cascate del Mulino waterfalls, accessible free of charge; and a magnificent hotel, the Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort, which features a thermal pool.
In this article:
Saturnia Hot Springs: A Historical Overview
The history of the baths of Saturnia is very special and is surrounded by several legends. The main one tells that Saturn, god of abundance and harvest, manifested his wrath toward men who were in constant warfare. He hurled lightning at the earth, creating a crater from which hot, sulfurous water suddenly gushed forth. As the water flowed through the valleys and plains, it calmed the spirits of men, beginning a golden age devoted to agriculture, hunting, and love.
But beyond legend, these Hot Springs have historically been known as a source of well-being. Centurions, soldiers, popes, and peasants have all bathed in its waters.
The history of Terme di Saturnia began in Etruscan times when the first natural pools were formed by the gushing of hot sulfur water. In 1454, with the granting of the Bagni di Saturnia, a period of great development began. In 1865, the Baths were acquired by the Ciacci family, which made it a true spa. In 1919, Gaspero Ciacci built the hotel, which still retains its original structure. Today, Terme di Saturnia is a 5-star resort, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and Star Hotels Collection, and a day-access spa.
The baths are at the forefront of Made in Italy hospitality and are part of the association of historic brands that promote true Italian values around the world. In addition, it has been recognized by the Ministry of Economic Development as a “Historic Brand of National Interest.”
Is Saturnia Hot Springs Worth It? Degrees and Features
Saturnia’s thermal water follows a 40-year underground journey through the bowels of Mount Amiata. During this long journey, the water is enriched with minerals such as sulfur, calcium, sulfates, and magnesium. As it rises to the surface, with a flow rate of nearly 800 liters per second, the thermal water maintains a constant temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius.
Due to its abundant flow rate, the pools of the hot springs are completely renewed every 4 hours. Thermal water has extraordinary therapeutic properties that can promote skin vasodilation, lower blood pressure, act as an anti-inflammatory on muscles and skeleton, improve breathing, relax muscles, have antiseptic properties on the skin, and much more.
How to get to Saturnia Hot Springs by Car, Bus
Reaching Terme di Saturnia from Florence requires a car trip of about 3 hours, passing through Grosseto and crossing the Maremma countryside. However, paradoxically, the area is easier to reach from Rome, with a shorter distance and a travel time of about 2 1/2 hours, also considering the need to get out of the city and the traffic. Other Tuscan cities require longer travel times, with Grosseto one hour away, Siena almost two hours, and Pisa over two and a half hours.
If one wishes to use public transportation, the journey can be exhausting: one can take the train to Albinia on the Pisa-Rome route, and from there one must continue by the 41P bus to Manciano and then by the 17P bus to Saturnia, both operated by the Tiemme SPA company.
Saturnia Hot Springs: Best Time to Visit and Costs
The Saturnia hot springs are also accessible for free, despite the presence of numerous resorts and hotels in the area. The so-called free thermal baths, known as Cascate del Mulino (Mill Falls), offer the opportunity to enjoy the thermal waters without having to pay any admission fees. The name comes from the presence of an old mill located right next to the falls.
Cascate del Mulino is an attraction available year-round, accessible 24 hours a day at no cost. However, spring and autumn are the ideal times to visit them. As said, it are located in the open countryside in Manciano, about 57 km from Grosseto, and the Cascate del Mulino offers an immersive experience in nature.
Cover Photo: Omar Verderame / YouTube