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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 08 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Nicky Swallow

Tuscany is full of natural hot springs or terme, many of which date from Roman or even Etruscan times and whose waters, originating from deep within the earth’s crust and emerging at around 35°C-37°C, have long been known to have therapeutic properties.

Each spring has a different combination of minerals and gases, so different terme are said to be beneficial for different conditions. Carbon dioxide boosts the immune system, for example, and sulfur-rich water is believed to benefit muscular and arthritic pain.

Hotels, some with day spas, have been developed around many of these springs, and while some are fairly modest, others have turned into luxury spa resorts offering first-class accommodation and a myriad of treatments (both medicinal and cosmetic) to compliment the thermal waters.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around
Duration: -

When to do it

The Tuscans love to wallow, particularly in cooler weather, and many go to the terme just for the day at the weekend. So Saturdays and Sundays at spas that offer day passes can get very crowded. If you’re staying at one of the more exclusive spa hotels, this is likely to be less of a problem; there is usually an area that is off-limits to non-residents.

There is something wonderful about wallowing in 35°C plus water (especially in an outdoor pool) when it’s cold outside, so winter is high season in spa resorts. In summer, the Italians go to the beach.

Adler Spa Resort Thermae

San Quirico d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

One of the best thermal spa resorts in Tuscany, surrounded by the glorious Val d’Orcia, with superb facilities including a huge indoor-outdoor pool complex with waters heated to a natural 37°C.

Official star rating:

aerial view to hot spring and old mill in Tuscany in Italy

Cascate del Mulino

Saturnia, Tuscany, Italy

If you want to wallow for free, join the locals at this hotspot between the towns of Saturnia and Montemerano. The steaming waters flow down a series of terraces forming natural pools; it’s particularly atmospheric by moonlight.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

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Looking down over a large outdoor pool, filled with thermal hot spring water

Grotta Giusti Hotel

Monsummano, Tuscany, Italy

The unique feature of the Grotta Giusti spa and hotel in Monsummano Terme is its extraordinary prehistoric underground cave system. An hour spent sweating in the dripping grotta offers relief from rheumatic pain and does wonders for the skin. After your sweat, you will be sluiced down naked in a small cubicle with a strong jet of water.

Best for ages: 13+ | £240

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Hotel Fonteverde

Hotel Fonteverde

San Casciano dei Bagni, Tuscany, Italy

A luxury retreat, in a former Medici villa, with a state-of-the-art spa offering more than a hundred different treatments. There’s a fabulous hot indoor-outdoor ‘bioacqua’ pool with 24 different massage jets to pummel the stiffness from limbs, backs, and shoulders. For hotel guests only.

Best for ages: 13+ | £350

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Tuscany, Italy

The astonishingly beautiful region of Tuscany has it all: art cities and ancient hill towns, high mountains and long sandy beaches, alongside luxurious hotels and some of Italy’s best food and wine.

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