Saturnia Thermal Baths

Saturnia - Thermal landscape

Saturnia is an ancient village in the south of Tuscany in the area known as Maremma. Although not yet commercialized, it attracts tourists because of its thermal baths which have been of considerable importance since ancient ages. The village is a little out of the way for most tourists but it does have a few good facilities for travelers. There are a handful of good hotels and Bed & Breakfasts and a few good restaurants and plenty of gelaterias and cafes located around the village.

Saturnia had been quite an important location since ancient ages. There is a large Etruscan gateway to the village which is still in good shape. The gate has a jigsaw pattern and an irregular shape made with large stones which have withstood the test of time for more than two thousand years. Via Clodia, the Roman road passed through this gate and was an important road during the Roman times. Centuries ago, the village population was destroyed by malaria.

 

History of the Thermal Baths

The thermal baths in Saturnia have been around for centuries, as is proved by Etruscan remains found in the area. The baths were famous with the Romans who realized their health benefits. The Romans built a resting station in the village along Via Clodia mainly because of the thermal baths. During the Middle Ages, Saturnia faced a numbrt of challenges and its importance gradually declined.  In the 18th century, Giorgio Santi mentioned Saturnia as a deserted and a ruined town.  Although the waters of the thermal baths had been used since ancient ages for treatment of rare diseases in animals and men alike, the town was deserted after it was struck by malaria.

People from all over the surrounding regions had once travelled to the thermal baths to immerse themselves in the healing waters of the thermal baths to cure themselves of skin diseases. The mud deposited in the basin was (and still is) rich in sulphur.  The locals gathered, dried and sold the sulphur mud in round lumps to the visitors for money and especially to shepherds who would then use the mud on their sheep when they faced diseases.   Today visitors to the baths coat their bodies in the mud making designs over their skins as they lounge around the springs.

 

The Location

Saturnia - Town Square

Saturnia is a charming village dating back to medieval times which has still managed to maintain its medieval nature. The hills surrounding the village are covered in dense woods and olive grooves with plenty of Etruscan remains. The village is located an hour away from Siena, an hour and half from the city of Rome and quite close to the sea.

In the recent years the village has gained quite a reputation for its excellent thermal baths, its hot water spring and its good traditional restaurants. A hot water spa known for its therapeutic qualities lies at the foot of the hill near Saturnia.

The Albegna River passes from the countryside surrounding Saturnia. Monte Argentario and the Mounts of Uccellina nature park are also located close to the village. The towns of Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovano are situated quite close to Saturnia and the port of Santo Stefano connects to the Giannutri and Giglio islands by a ferry. Porto Ercole and Ansedonia are also easily accessible from Saturnia.

 

Terme di Saturnia

Saturnia - Thermal baths

Terme di Saturnia is a large spa in Saturnia which provides a number of therapeutic treatments to visitors. The waters used in the spa are rich in sulphur and are believed to have health benefits. The spa offers treatments for several types of digestive system ailments like constipation, obesity and gastric problems. It treats diseases of throat and nose and arthritis in several forms.

The waters of the spa are used to treat different types of skin diseases like eczema, acne, allergies, dermatitis and almost all other types of skin ailments. The waters of the thermal springs are also believed to lower blood pressure among those who regularly take a dip in the waters.

 

Saturnia hot springs are quite crowded in August

The Hot Springs

The hot springs and the thermal baths of Saturnia are one of the main reasons why so many tourists visit the village. The hot springs are not located very far from the village. Right outside the village on the main road towards the right is the large spa. Past the spa entrance there is a hot river which runs through the fields.

Hundreds of tourists swim in this hot water river to avail the many health benefits of the water. It is a good spot for sun bathing or even for an afternoon picnic in the outdoors (provided it is not too crowded). Going further on the road and a left turn will lead you to the hot spring waterfall which is picturesque. There is a large parking area close to the waterfall for those who are driving down to the area. The waterfall and river are also great for those who just want to enjoy a day out in the outdoors.   While the waterfall can be crowded, if you want to enjoy the water but not the crowds, bear right at the entrance and enter the river through a small free campground.  The river is shallow and narrow but still warm, suphureous and an interesting shade of white-blue.

Saturnia - Thermal baths

There aren't any changing rooms in the area so visitors have to change in their cars. The thermal springs and the waterfall are both very popular with the locals as well as tourists so the place might get quite crowded on weekends. It is best to visit the place on weekdays and in off season to avoid the tourist rush.

Because of the newly developed facilities in Saturnia for tourists there are now plenty of visitors who travel to Saturnia to take a dip in the thermal pools.

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Comments

Thursday, October 27TH, 2011 by Guest

This looks beautiful :D

Tuesday, November 22TH, 2011 by Guest

We were there (myself and 3 other girl friends) and we thoroughly enjoyed this place.  Our guide who drove us there from Rome had never been there and she kept saying in amazement "free, it is free".  She was VERY excited about this place.  One of the ladies in our group that is not much for leaving home and was for the whole week counting down time to get back to the USA was so excited when she got into the water she kept saying "this made the whole trip worth it!"  The rest of us girls  (55-60 yrs old) loved every bit of our trip to Italy and could not decide which day was our favorite as each day was unique and spectacular:  Tues: Pompeii and Sorrento; Wed:  Vatican City; Thu:  Venice; Fri:  Saturnia/Thermal Baths and Tuscany and then Saturday we covered most all of the City of Rome that we did not cover Wednesday after our Vatican City tour.  It was a trip that we all said would never be forgotten and will always be special to our hearts!

Wednesday, December 14TH, 2011 by Guest

Saturnia introduced us to the thermal springs of Italy. It is one of the most sulphurous springs we have visited, very nice, very warm - and with an excellent and very relaxed atmosphere! Good to see it still is at it has been for centuries!

Sunday, May 06TH, 2012 by Guest

Let me know the guide and rates as well. Getting there seems to be a little bit of a problem.