First Stop: The Town
Before you visit the springs, you may want to stop and take some time to explore Saturnia, a small town in the Maremma, that stands on top of a hill overlooking the famous thermal springs. This buzzing little hamlet is situated close to an Etruscan necropolis along the Roman road Clodia, situated in between the Aurelia and Cassia roads.
Its origins are extremely ancient: a Greek historian from 60 BC tells how this area was inhabited by pre-classical populations of Greece! Later came the Etruscans followed by the Romans, as proven by the beautiful Porta Romana, Roman Gates, dating back to the 2nd century B.C.
The town became a hideout for outlaws in the 1300’s and was thus burned to the ground and left mainly forgotten until the thermal waters came into vouge once again. It was a possession of Siena until the 16th century when it became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Remains of these ancient cultures can be seen at Bagno Santo, Holy Bath, that is an antediluvian holy place a few kilometers from the center, or the medieval walls surrounding the small hamlet, which were built by the Aldobrandeschi family. In Saturnia, there is the medieval Church of Santa Maria Maddalena which has been restyled in the early 1900’s, with its splendid artistic masterpieces as well as the Archeological Museum and the Aldobrandeschi Fortress (not open to the public).
Don’t miss taking a walk in the Piazza Vittorio Veneto where you will find more Roman artifacts to the exam!
Now Relax at The Springs
the famous thermal springs make this a must-see
Saturnia’s thermal baths are the bubbling waters seeping through the Earth’s crust in an area stretching from Mount Amiata to the hills of Albenga and Fiora and reaching Roselle and Talamone. The waters are rich in mineral deposits, especially sulfur which gives it a slightly “eggy” smell.
The composition of the deposits, from the scientific point of view, is composed of “a sulfurous-carbonic, sulfate-bicarbonate-alkaline mineral water, and includes among its peculiarities the presence of two dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide”. The thermal waters have a temperature of 37.5 °C and therapeutic and relaxing properties.
The warm sulphurous waters of Saturnia were well-known by first the Etruscans and later the Romans. In fact, they believed them to be a gift from the gods, and made good use of the waters and its healing powers. Though with the passing of the years, the local superstition changed, and they used the waters less and less.
However, the lure of the waters soon beckoned the locals back, and they even constructed a well-maintained resort. In addition to the luxurious, exclusive wellness and spa centers in Saturnia (in the photograph below), the are two free outdoor waterfalls, the Cascate del Mulino and Cascate del Gorello.
The Cascate del Mulino (in the photograph below) are probably the most famous natural springs in Tuscany. The waterfalls are made of several natural pools of warm thermal water, as well as a relaxing waterfall. They are open to the public and free throughout the entire year.
Saturnia and its thermal springs are certainly another gem of in the treasure that the Maremma offers, an area where wild nature and history melts perfectly, making Tuscany the perfect destination for your holidays in Italy!