Wellness has played a role in Italy since the time of the ancient Romans, who cleverly exploited Italy’s natural hot thermal springs to benefit the mind and body. Slow down, unwind, and put relaxation at the heart of your holiday with our pick of Italy’s best spa towns.
Since the first century BC when the complex ritual of bathing gained popularity with the introduction of Roman Baths, Italy has been at the forefront of spa culture, and established some of Europe’s oldest thermal hotels.
Balneotherapy - the official term for soaking in a thermal water bath - is believed to have exceptional beneficial properties due to the rich soluble minerals the waters contain, such as calcium, sodium and magnesium salts, metals, and sulphur compounds. The location of the spring that the water is sourced from plays a key role in the water’s specific properties.
It’s thought thermal waters can help with everything from metabolic disorders and digestive issues to skin conditions and allergies, respiratory diseases, and rheumatism. Skin is detoxed, exhausted minds are soothed, and muscular aches and pains are relieved.
The Romans didn’t have the scientific facts about mineral waters that we have today, but clinical trials show that a spa experience really can combat stress and improve our overall wellbeing. And, where better to do so than at the original source? You’ll find exceptional towns and resorts in Italy that exist to naturally heal your ailments and soothe your soul.
Montecatini Terme | Tuscany
Tuscany’s leading spa town is Montecatini Terme, located just a 40-minute drive from Pisa and Florence. Its rich medieval past sings out of the cobblestoned streets, and its historic buildings are ensconced in beautiful natural scenery. Some of the original spas, such as the reputable and grand Tettuccio Terme, still proudly stand and remain the talk of the town.
Most of the spas are open throughout the year but are best visited during the summer months. In amongst the rich fresco decorations, spa doctors are on hand to advise on treatments for specific ailments, which include mud therapy, spring water inhalations, and various hydropathic treatments.
Due to its natural geography, Montecatini Terme is split into an upper and low section, which you can travel between using the town’s historical funicular railway.
Located right in the heart of the town and just a few minutes' walk away from the thermal park, Grand Hotel Francia e Quirinale is an elegant and historic family-run hotel.
Acqui Terme | Piedmont
Acqui Terme is a town all about water. Even at night, you’ll hear the natural springs gurgling. Tucked away in this tiny town lies the Lago del Sorgente (Lake of the Springs) Spa, which have been celebrated since Roman times. It’s well worth taking a day trip to experience La Bollente, a natural spring that bubbles up from underground, spewing out steam and hot water into a beautifully crafted marble spa that dates back to the 19th century.
An hour’s drive from Acqui Terme lies the famous wine region of Gavi and the traditional boutique farmhouse and winery of Albergo L'Ostelliere - Villa Sparina Resort, where you’ll be immersed in bountiful vineyards and dramatic rolling hills.
Sirmione | Lake Garda
Situated on the shores of Lake Garda, the healing thermal waters of Sirmione have been drawing crowds for centuries. This sleepy town is the perfect place to relax as you amble through the pedestrianised narrow cobbled streets and squares or visit its own fairy tale medieval castle, Scaligeri Castle. When you’re not immersed in minerals, the ice cream parlours are a must to visit with their highly acclaimed gelato.
Situated in a superbly tranquil lakeside location that offers heart-warming views and adjacent to Scaligero Castle, Grand Hotel Terme is a luxurious hotel with its own fully equipped wellness centre, including a thermal outdoor pool. The hotel’s restaurant, L'Orangerie, is renowned throughout Italy for its excellent, nutritionally considered menu of Mediterranean and international haute cuisine.
San Giuliano Terme | Tuscany
A short 15-minute car ride outside of Pisa brings you to San Giuliano Terme, an 18th century spa town. Ensconced in lush Tuscan landscapes, the village dates back to the Stone Age, and there are plenty of medieval villas and fortresses to uncover. There’s also a fabulous food culture in the area, with plenty of classic and romantic local trattorie (restaurants) to dine in.
Considered one of the finest spas in Italy, Bagni di Pisa Palace and Spa is what puts San Giuliano Terme on the map. Located on the Pisan Hills, this luxury hotel is a lovingly restored mansion that was a fashionable meeting place for royals and influential figures alike in the 1700s. The spa utilises the restorative thermal waters that run underneath it to provide a broad range of natural treatments, detox, and weight loss programmes.
Discover the real Italy with Citalia
Are you ready to relax in Italy’s spa towns? Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape!
Visit citalia.com to discover the real Italy on your next adventure. Andiamo!
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