Thermal baths to renew and restore you all winter long
Due to its unique geological formation, Italy has a wealth of natural hot springs and, in turn, thermal bath resorts. All offer beautiful views of stunning landscapes, plenty of health benefits, and a wonderful opportunity to relax and unwind between city walking tours and museum visits. While Tuscany is the most common region to find natural hot springs, they can be found all over the country, making it easier to squeeze into your itinerary wherever you are. Below are some Italian hot springs that are definitely worth a visit (listed North to South).
Bagni di Bormio (Lombardy)
These hot springs are perfect for a winter vacation to the Alps in the north of Italy. After a day sent alpine skiing or hiking in the Dolomites, take a break from the cold and relax at this picturesque, medieval hillside resort, three hours away from Milan. The resort has three different hot springs, one of which, the Bagni Vecchi, sits in a 1000-year old tunnel from the ancient Roman times. Accessible with an entrance fee, all of the baths provide spectacular views of the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites, and a day of pure relaxation.
Abano Terme – Montegrotto (Veneto)
Less than an hour away from Venice are the thermal baths at Abano Terme in Montegrotto. These springs are part of one of Europe’s largest spa resorts, and provide a wide range of treatments from mud baths to thermal therapy. This wellness center is an excellent way to unwind after the hustle and bustle of a day spent touring Venice.
Cola/Villa Cedri Thermal Park (Lake Garda, Northern Regions)
Halfway between Venice and Milan, these hot springs are hidden in a forest of old cypress and cedar trees near Italy’s largest lake and best-kept secret, the breathtakingly beautiful Lake Garda. The Cola natural hot springs are within the Villa Cedri Thermal Park, which requires an entrance fee of 18 euros for adults and 15 euros for children. Kids will have fun swimming in the warm, clear waters while parents will appreciate the chance to relax and enjoy the spectacular alpine views.
Tucked away in the hills of Maremma, two hours from Siena, Saturnia is Italy’s most famous collection of thermal baths. Everyone from the ancient Romans to modern tourists have fallen in love with the Saturnia springs. With steaming, sulfurous teal waters bubbling over glacial white rocks, Saturnia is worth visiting for both the striking scenery and its healing, blood pressure-reducing powers. These hot springs are free, but additional spa services are available for extra cost at a nearby resort.
Bagni San Filippo (Tuscany)
These free, natural hot springs can be found in the middle of the woods in the postcard-perfect Val d’Orcia, just two hours away from Florence. These hot springs are not as famous as their neighbor Saturnia, but with opalescent blue waters and waterfalls cascading from icy rocks, guests can enjoy all of Saturnia’s natural beauty without the crowds at Bagni San Filippo.
Bagno Vignoni (Tuscany)
Also in the heart of the Val d’Orcia two hours from Florence, these free thermal baths were a stopping point for Christian pilgrims on their way to Rome in the Middle Ages. Guests can take in the sweeping views of vineyards, cypresses, and the Apennines as they ease their minds and sore muscles in the warm, mineral-rich waters.
Only half an hour away from Florence, these hot springs used to be a health spa for both the Etruscans and Romans. Off the beaten path near the River Farma, Petriolo is secluded by woodlands and ancient stone walls, adding to the baths’ peaceful ambience. Petriolo is also free of charge and family-friendly.
Terme di Papi (Lazio)
Located in scenic Viterbo, an hour and a half away from Rome, these hot springs make a wonderful side trip from the Eternal City. Enjoyed by both ancient Romans and past popes for its plethora of therapeutic treatments, the Terme di Papi include both natural springs and 2,000 square meters of pools with stunning vistas of rolling, cypress-lined hills. The Terme di Papi hot springs are part of a wellness resort that offer more health and beauty treatments to guests.
Sorgeto (Ischia, Campania)
Open all year round and free of charge, Sorgeto is a hidden cove of volcanic hot springs on the island of Ischia, in the Bay of Naples. Ischia is a two hour ferry ride from Naples, and guests have to scale a lot of steps in order to access the cove, but the healing waters and amazing Mediterranean views are well worth any trouble. Guests can also work on their tan or bring food into the cove.
Laghetto di Fanghi (Aeolian Islands, Sicily)
These hot springs are tucked away on Vulcano, one of the Aeolian Islands, less than three hours away from the city of Messina in Sicily. Though Vulcano is only accessible by boat, Laghetto di Fanghi is only a short walk away from the harbor, and it’s well worth the travel. As the name of the island suggests, these volcanic hot springs offer a multitude of health benefits, such as natural mud baths that can help ease sore joints or alleviate skin diseases. Besides, the gorgeous black sand beaches, striking volcanic views, and clear azure waters combine to create an outdoor spa experience unlike any other. The thermal baths are free, and are part of national-owned land.