SPA and HOT SPRINGS near CORTONA
If you’re looking for a relaxing spa experience with hot springs water, just 40 km from Cortona, there’s a place where you can escape from stress and enjoy nature. Rapolano, a small medieval town located in the province of Siena between the Valdichiana and the Val Ombrone, is rich in hot springs water that has been used since ancient times to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.
The historic spa resort, “Antica Querciolaia” at Rapolano Terme, has an added historical attraction. Inside the spa, you can find a travertine basin where Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of two worlds, treated his injuries from the battle of Aspromonte (Calabria, Southern Italy) in August 1867.
The travertine bathtub was discovered in the mud area that was once used for mud treatments. The bathtub is located under the dressing room where Garibaldi used to change before immersing himself in the warm thermal waters of Rapolano.
The hot springs
The hot springs of Rapolano have been known for their healing properties since the Etruscan and Roman eras. Today, these natural waters are popular and recommended for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, as well as being used in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases and inflammation.
From Cortona get the road higway E78 to Siena direction, exit to “Serre di Rapolano” (about 35 minutes). Follow the Rapolano town directions, then follow the sign to the hotsprings. (Terme) RAPOLANO DISTANCE 43,7 Km | Time to go 37 minutes.
San Giovanni in Rapolano Terme
Our natural thermal water springs from the earth at 39 degrees centigrade and are rich in sulphur and calcium bicarbonate which, together with the heat of the water itself, render of thermal spring water such a rich font of health.
They are especially effective in combating ailments relating to the muscular-skeletal system and to respiratory disorders.
As well as conferring an immensely pleasurable experience in itself, soothing muscles and washing away aches and pains, taking the waters at San Giovanni has noticeable effects on a range of dermatological problems from acne to eczema.
Inhaling vaporised water also improves the functioning of the respiratory system
The heart of the spa complex (second half of the 19th century) shows an indissoluble bond with its spring: its horseshoe shape was designed to embrace, almost as if protecting, the spring. The travertine with its warm tones and thousand-year old veins recalls a world – the world of Terme in Toscana – that owes everything to water.
History mentions an illustrious guest who benefited from the healing properties of the spring: Garibaldi, “the hero of two worlds”, came here to treat the aftermaths of a wound reported in the Battle of Aspromonte.
TERME DI BAGNO VIGNONI –
Distance from Cortona – 53,6 Km – Time about 1 h 10 minutes
Bagno Vignoni is a town in Tuscany, Italy, known for its hot springs. The ancient village is located in the Val d’Orcia Natural Park, and has been used for healing since Roman times. The “Square of sources” is a rectangular tank containing the original source of water. Many artists and historical figures have visited the spa, and the village has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. Bagno Vignoni is also the location of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1983 film Nostalghia.
Terme di Bagno Vignoni
The Terme Wellbeing Centre, open every day, offers its various services to not only hotel guests but also to external clients who wish to relax in its refined and comfortable spaces. Located in Bagno Vignoni, a medieval village renowned for its Piazza delle Sorgenti (Square of Springs), where a thermal spring with numerous therapeutic properties has been flowing for over 2000 years. This natural gift is the foundation of our Wellbeing Centre.
Terme ADELER SPA
Unrivalled destinations. Places to unwind. Relaxation for the spirit and sustenance for the soul. A holiday at the ADLER means a holistic deceleration, closeness to nature and the region and regeneration for the body. Let go and find your way back to true places of power.
HEALTH THROUGH WATER
I have been trying to understand the concept of terme in Italy for several years now. In the past, I have visited a few hotels and spas that feature pools filled with mineral-rich waters from the earth. However, I found the experience to be unfulfilling as the water was often lukewarm and the massages felt unsatisfying. Additionally, the dinner options at these establishments were often mediocre, with one even serving fake grilled shrimp. Despite my experiences, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something missing.
I realized that the Etruscans and Romans harnessed the healing powers of thermal waters enriched with calcium, magnesium, fluorine and sulfur, and visits to terme were an important part of their health regimen. In fact, the word ‘spa’ comes from a Roman tradition, ‘salum per aquam,’ which means ‘health through water.’ However, I didn’t know that in modern times, visits to the terme were widely prescribed by doctors in Italy. The treatments were heavily discounted and the state-run facilities were low quality, and the clientele mainly comprised of the elderly hoping to cure specific ailments.
Several decades ago, private resorts offering spa services sprang up in Tuscan towns such as Montecatini, Chianciano, and Rapolano. These resorts were popular among Italians who would go there on weekends and holidays to relax and unwind, taking advantage of discounted package deals. However, over time, the quality of these resorts has varied dramatically. Many of these places are now comprised of indoor and outdoor pools filled with mineral-rich waters of varying temperatures. The water may appear slightly opaque or the pool bottom may feel slimy and rubbery. Visitors typically spend 15-20 minutes in the water, allowing the minerals to work their magic before relaxing on a lounge chair in between soaks. Amenities such as locker rooms, steam baths, and saunas are often available, particularly if there is a spa on-site. Day rates at the average terme range from 10 to 20 euros, and visitors are typically required to bring their own swim caps, flip flops, towels, and shampoo.
My advice for visiting a terme, or spa, in Italy is to go for the best. Rather than settling for low-quality, overcrowded facilities, consider spending a bit more to visit a luxurious resort or complex. These can often be visited for the day at a cost similar to a nice meal in Florence. Two personal favorites of mine are located in southern Tuscany, in an area where the thermal waters are particularly potent. One of these is the village of San Casciano dei Bagni, known for its thermal springs and breathtaking panoramic views. The other is Fonteverde, a beautiful 19th century Medici palace with thermal pools surrounded by spectacular views.
At Fonteverde, a stunning 19th century Medici palace built around a productive thermal spring, guests can enjoy one of the most awe-inspiring views in Tuscany while taking a dip in the warm thermal pools. The palace’s sumptuous interior, featuring original oil portraits and deep red and green hues, houses over 100 spa treatments which must be booked in advance. The author recommends the Bioaquam circuit which offers targeted jets that relieve tension, improve circulation, and exfoliate the skin. The cost is reasonable, with a weekday rate of 19 euro and a weekend rate of 27 euro, and guests can enjoy a formal lunch or a snack at the poolside café in their bathrobe.
If you’re looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience in Italy, visiting a terme, or spa, is a must. For years, I have been trying to understand the terme culture in Italy, and I have visited a few known for their combination hotel/spas in the past. However, I found that the lukewarm water and mediocre massages left something to be desired.
What I didn’t realize until I started researching this topic is that in modern times, visits to the terme were widely prescribed by doctors in Italy. The state-run facilities were of low quality and the clientele mainly comprised of the elderly hoping to cure specific ailments. However, private resorts have sprung up in Tuscan towns like Montecatini, Chianciano and Rapolano, and these offer a more luxurious spa experience.
My advice is to go for the best when it comes to terme. You can even visit the most luxurious resorts and complexes just for the day at not much more than the cost of a nice lunch or dinner in Florence. My two personal favorites are in southern Tuscany, in an area where the waters rising from deep below the now dormant volcano, Monte Amiata, are particularly potent.
One such spa is the Adler Thermae, located in the quaint village of Bagno Vignoni. This resort, which opened in 2004, is in complete harmony with its natural surroundings and offers an array of outdoor pools, steam baths, and saunas. However, access is limited to protect the experience of hotel guests and it is not cheap, with an entry fee of 50 euro and the need to book one treatment.
Whether you’re there for only a few hours or several nights, visiting a terme is a wonderful opportunity to relax, re-center, and break the rhythms of daily life. It’s a gift to your body and soul and an opportunity to indulge in the pleasures of life, Italy style.