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Italian Thermal Spas - Bathing With Mother Nature

Updated on December 5, 2010

Eco Sauna

Italy’s natural geology makes it one of the earth’s most natural health spas, famous names like Vesuvius, Stromboli and Etna all attest to the forces at work here. However, you will also find the more soothing, gentler aspects of volcanic activity too. Warm soothing mineral waters, curative sulphur pools and natural steam caves to rejuvenate the body.

For many centuries the properties of these places has been well known and down the ages visitors have come from far and wide to “take of the waters” and enjoy the restorative results such cleansing baths offer. From deep within the Italian Alps, the Dolomites and Apennine Mountains Mother Nature release these wonderful solutions that can ease and relax. 

Pozza di Fazza, Trento Odorico
Pozza di Fazza, Trento Odorico

Mineral Waters

Umbria in the centre of Italy is particularly blessed with the spa towns of San Gemini, Carsulae and Aquasparta. The Romans, who would sail up the Tiber to their holiday homes and sample the restful effects gained at the baths favoured these places. 

Tuscany too has its famous bathhouses; Terme di Saturnia and the Bagno di Petriolo were notorious destinations of the landed gentlemen during the Sixteenth century who were on the “Grand European Tour.” At Petriolo they would stay a couple of days and wash off the weeks of dust and grim, before once more heading south to Rome.  While at Pistoia, near Piza is the Grotta Giusti which along with its other treatments has a wonderful steam cave where you can simply sit and meditate.

Grotta Giusti, Pistoia, Tuscany
Grotta Giusti, Pistoia, Tuscany
Terme di Satrunia, Tuscany
Terme di Satrunia, Tuscany

Thermal Caves

One of the oldest bathhouses is in northern Italy at the Bagno di Bormio, parts date back to Roman times but the intriguing area here is the Grotto Sudatoria, the sweat cave. A natural thermal cave with heated water is approached down two subtly lit, cool tunnels that acclimatise your body to the humid temperature. It this natural sauna you can steam yourself and feel the detoxifying effects the experience gives you.

There are many of these pools, caves, waterfalls and baths all over Italy. A number have been turned into luxury executive spa villas, with marble baths, polished chrome fittings and fine linen. It is however, also a good idea to follow the locals, as quite often you will find a few hundred yards downstream they quite often have made their own free spa using the same mineral waters

Other Italian Hubs

Carsulae, Umbria's Pompeii - town that lay undiscovered for centuries

Ten sights to visit at Pompeii - where to visit at this marvellous site.

Ten unusual Umbrian Museums

Palio di Siena - famous horse race in the Tuscan town

English Cemetery in Florence - beautifully tranquil place in city centre chaos


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    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      I am on my way, save a place :-)

    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 7 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Cheers Hello and Katrinasui its nice that you can just go and sit in these lovely warm rivers without pricy gym membership or designer labels surrounding you. Just jump in the river and relax, no pressure.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 7 years ago

      It sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing such a unique information.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That must be so benefitting and such an experience.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      These sound heavenly............. maybe someday! Kaie

    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 7 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Hi CMH Bormio is down on my list of places to go. I just love that this warm, healthy water just comes up through the ground.

      Thanks for calling by Tiffany, hope you get your chance to chill in a warm Italian stream or cave soon.

    • profile image

      Tiffany 7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, I hope to one day experience a natural Italian spa, it sounds awesome! Love your hub!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      I have been to the Bagno di Bormio, and it is amazing to wallow in those warm mineral waters in the ancient tunnels. Interesting hub