Monday, January 21, 2013

Enjoy the Best Spas in Tuscany


No matter what the season, a day (or more) spent at a luxurious thermal spa resort is regenerating.
It’s a perfect way to escape life’s stress and restore the mind and body. The Italian spa experience is an all-encompassing event that focuses on total well-being. The settings of the resorts are magnificent, usually grand historic villas immersed in incredible gardens and built around the source of a natural hot spring. Their glorious past can be traced as far back as the Etruscans and Romans, who were the first to recognize the therapeutic properties of the thermal waters.

Today, these facilities are state-of-the-art, offering the most modern technology, the highest standards of comfort and (of course) gourmet cuisine. Tuscany boasts many of the country’s most prestigious spas, recognized to be among the best in Europe. Just about every province in the region has an excellent spa resort, and there are also many public thermal baths where people can enjoy these natural mineral waters for the day, much as one would go to a public swimming pool.

Another reason to visit Tuscany’s spas is that they are usually in historic towns which in and of themselves justify the trip. Among the most characteristic is Bagno Vignoni. Located on a hill overlooking the beautiful Val d’Orcia, this unique medieval village has been remarkably preserved. The unusual thing about this town is that it is built around a square of water. This rectangular tank, called the “Square of Sources” contains the steamy thermal waters that come from the underground aquifer of volcanic origins and confer an almost dreamlike atmosphere.

Bagno Vignoni was made famous by the ancient Romans who recognized the healing power of its waters. Later, in the Middle Ages, it became even more popular due to its proximity to the Via Francigena – an important route connecting Northern Europe to Italy. Pilgrims often stopped in the village on their way to Rome to rest, taking advantage of the hot springs to rejuvenate themselves. During the early Renaissance the town became a sought after vacation destination for many of the most illustrious figures of the time, including Pope Pius II, Saint Catherine of Siena and Lorenzo de’ Medici.

Still today, this remarkable place leaves its mark on the visitor and it continues to be one of the most well-known spa locations in Tuscany, where you can find modern facilities to enjoy a wide range of treatments. In addition, the stunning landscape of the local area, the nearby towns of San Quirico, Pienza and Montalcino, as well as some of the most impressive abbeys in Italy (Sant’Antimo and Monte Oliveto Maggiore) make a trip to Bagno Vignoni an absolutely unforgettable experience. 

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