Tuscany is full natural hot springs. Most are high-end spas that offer all kinds of health and beauty treatments. There are still a few outdoor hot springs that are immersed in nature and free.
If you are willing to experience the wilder side of Tuscany, Bagni San Filippo or Saturnia could be the solution for you.
Don’t expect much in terms of infrastructure or services. These places can get very crowded in summer, so plan a trip during the low season to best enjoy the hot waters in relative peace.
Bagni San Filippo (Fosso Bianco)
Bagni San Filippo, a small village between the breathtaking Val d’Orcia and the Amiata Mountain, has been famous for its hot springs since the Roman times. Bagni San Filippo is a two-hour drive south of Florence.
When you reach the town, park and follow signs for Fosso Bianco. A footpath that runs along the river leads down to the Balena Bianca, a limestone formation that looks like a whale with its mouth open.
The Fosso Bianco area is quite extensive and there are many shallower pools on your way down to the waterfall and White Whale. Bear in mind that shallower pools are cooler which could be considered a plus during the hotter months. The combination of the whitish blue sulfuric water and surrounding greenery is quite a sight to behold.
If you don’t like the idea of “roughing it”, the San Filippo Spa is just next door!
Saturnia (Cascate del Molino)
Saturnia is a town in Maremma, the southernmost part of Tuscany. It is around a 2.50 hour drive from Florence. The waters of Saturnia have volcanic origins and come from Monte Amiata about 40 kms away from the town.
When you reach Saturnia, follow directions to Cascate del Mulino. Depending on the season you might find it harder to find a spot in the nearby parking lot. The only building near the river is the ex-water mill (from which the place takes its name).
There is also a café that serves food near the parking lot. The hill side has been carved away by the river, creating a series of pools that cascade into one another. The thermal water, at a balmy 37.5 degrees, is full of thermal plankton which is good for the skin, digestive, circulatory and motor systems. The great advantage of Cascate del Molino is that it never closes, which makes it perfect for a midnight swim!
Feel like pampering yourself and enjoying the comfort of a changing room and shower after your soak in the hot spring? Head to the Terme di Saturnia for the total spa experience.
Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to discover the Tuscan wilderness while also enjoying some down time in the therapeutic hot spring waters. And while you are in the area of Bagni San Filippo or Saturnia, why not go on a tour of the area? The tour operator I Just Drive! can take you on a personalized trip of your choice.