For tourists looking for relaxation and well-being, a visit to one of Italy’s ancient and natural spas is a must
Whether you’re looking to unplug from the hectic pace of modern life or to simply enjoy the health benefits of a thermal spa, these magical waters—which are free to use—are available up and down the country.
People have been taking advantage of the exceptional health benefits that these waters offer for millennia, but the resorts themselves gained notoriety in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Italian aristocracy made visiting a thermal bath the fashionable “thing to do”. No surprise then that today there is a specific brand of “thermal spa tourism” that caters for hydrotherapy and the health benefits it can bring.
But what are these so-called hot springs? Well, quite simply, they are naturally occurring water complexes that offer unique therapeutic properties through the use of water jets, steam, bathing and even, in some cases, the ingestion of the water itself. The underground heat flow reaches the surface at very high temperatures, causing its waters (or sludge) to transport minerals and substances with properties that improve dermatological, arthritic, and rheumatic problems, alongside several other pathologies such as respiratory complications.
The infrastructure that these spas have today, alongside the well-documented health benefits that these waters offer, has made Italy a preferred location for tourists seeking some serious rest and relaxation. Luxurious hotel resorts offer a range of options to help promote well-being, like therapeutic massages and special diets designed to harmonise the body, mind and spirit during your stay.
Tuscany is a thermal region par excellence and its therapeutic waters are world famous. The thermal baths of Saturnia, San Filippo and Montecatini are among the most prized.
In Veneto, thermal baths with therapeutic properties are abundant: Termas Abano in Padova, Termas de Sirmione, on Lake Garda, Termas Battaglia, Termas Galzignano, Lido di Jesolo, Lido di Venezia, Termas Montegrotto and Termas Recoaro. All offer excellent amenities and five-star services for guests to one of the most beautiful areas of Italy.
It is important to remember, however, that some of these locations do have a high concentration of metals and minerals, so certain precautions are recommended (such as with pregnancy, severe skin or respiratory problems). Each spa tends to have its own rules, so it is always best to your hotel representative what you need to know and how to get the most out of this unique experience.
Since they can be found all over Italy, from the Alps to Sicily, the thermal centres have different configurations and different medicinal or therapeutic properties, but, generally, the cities that surround them are well placed to receive visitors looking to immerse themselves in destinations rich in natural beauty and cultural intrigue. As the old saying goes: “healthy mind, healthy body”.