How to Get There
There are two ways to get to Bagno Vignoni from Florence, the A1 highway and the slightly more scenic Siena-Firenze high-speed road. It takes around two hours to reach Bagno Vignoni from Florence. On the Firenza-Siena road, exit at Siena Sud and take the SR2 towards San Quirico d’Orcia.
If you aren’t pressed for time, the little fortified town of San Quirico d’Orcia is definitely worth a stop. From there, Bagno Vignoni is a short 12-minute drive. Once you enter the town, follow the road to a big car park just on the outskirts of the town proper. From there you can easily walk to the historical center or make the slightly less easy trip down the cliffside to the Parco Naturale dei Mulini where the free open-air hot springs can be found.
The Town Proper
Bagno Vignoni has been famous for its natural hot spring since Roman times. Many famous historical figures, such as Pope Pius II the founder of nearby town Pienza and Caterina of Siena, have bathed in its mineral-rich waters that are particularly recommended for bones, the circulatory system, skin and articulation problems.
This attractive little town is structured around two parallel streets that frame a majestic 16th century stone pool. The surrounding stone buildings and incredible Santa Caterina Loggia reflect in the pool, giving the Piazza della Sorgente a timeless feel.
Bagno Vignoni is definitely worth visiting for the beauty of its central square, but also for its cornucopia of charming little restaurants. Why not enjoy the beautiful sights on one of those restaurants poolside terraces?
The prices overall are a bit high and the town can easily feel overcrowded in summer. Should you wish to spend a little less or just have a little room to breathe, consider driving back to the nearby town of San Quirico d’Orcia.
Parco Naturale dei Mulini
Sadly, the town of Bagno Vignoni no longer lets people bathe in the picturesque central pool anymore. If the sight of all that water is too tempting to resist, especially on a hot day, retrace your steps back towards the parking lot and continue to the edge of town.
You will find a small trail that takes you down to the Parco Naturale dei Mulini. The name comes from the fact that, until the 1950s, there were four watermills in operation there. Unlike other watermills in the area that stopped functioning in summer due to low water levels, the Bagno Vignoni ones worked throughout the year and brought economic well-being to the area.
The original spring is in the town proper but then gets diverted down the hill through a complex system of open-air canalization. By the time the water reaches the shallow but wide pools of the Parco dei Mulini, the temperature has decreased quite a bit. It is therefore recommended to go there in summer when the temperature is most pleasant.
In colder seasons, there are three different spas (of varying styles and price range) that offer hotter temperatures and other amenities (like showers or restrooms) the wilder Parco dei Mulini doesn’t. If you are interested in free open-air bathing, also consider the nearby town of Bagno San Filippo that has its own hot springs near a river.