A walk on the Wild Side

cascade-del-molinoMost of Tuscany’s hot springs have been converted into commercial spas but some are still free. Here are the pick of the best in Tuscany.

Saturnia is the most  known of Tuscany’s natural spas. Legend has it that the springs were created by Saturn himself who split the earth with a thunderclap because he was tired of war-hungry humans, and the sulphurous springs were released. The warm water bubbles up at 37C no matter what the time of year. Only minutes south of Siena are the Bagni di Petrolio, hot springs that were popular with the Romans, and later with the Medici family. The pools are located below ruined walls dating from 404AD, the only remnants of fortified Roman thermal baths. Petrolio is signposted from the main Siena to Grosseto road – then follow your nose down to the picturesque river Farma to find it. Located 40 minutes south-east of Siena, between the volcanic peaks of Mount Amiata, and the deeply wooded Orcia valley, San Filippo takes its name from the Florence hermit who retreated here in the 13th century. It is also known for its five hot springs, which gurgle out of the ground at 52C and are rich in sulphur, calcium, magnesium and sulphur bicarbonate, believed to be good for skin conditions, respiratory disorders and joint and bone problems. On the approach to the town a small wooden bridge on the right leads into the woods. Follow the path through the woods and you come to pool after pool under waterfalls of opaquely white water, set below the spa above, from where the water gushes down. San Filippo’s milky mineral water flows through the pools and along the river, piled by bamboo, for miles. The pools and natural spas are marked on public papers and local tourist information offices can assist you on how to find them. Avoid high days and holidays as the site can get very busy.IMG_0998

If you wish to combine this kind of experience at its best we suggest to rent a holiday house in the countryside, so that you will be totally plunged in the wild side of  Tuscany!

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