Saturnia di Terme… also known as Cascate Del Mulino, the mythical landscape you’ve most likely seen in magazines wondering if it’s actually a real destination. I’m here to confirm that this natural Tuscan bath is very much a real spa town that does not disappoint and the pictures don’t do it justice!
RUMOR HAS IT….
This hotspot (see what I did there 😉 ) dates all the way back 3,000 years ago! According to the Etruscans and Romans, Terme di Saturnia was formed by lightning bolts thrown down by Jupiter. Two mythological deities were in the middle of a violent quarrel when Saturn had thrown bolts down and missed, causing the formations at this hot spring.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Hot springs are heated by geothermal springs- heat from the Earth’s interior. The water in the ground comes into contact with hot rocks or magma and it seeps through the cracks/crevices of the Earth’s crust, which leads to hot springs like Saturnia!
So what is heating up Saturnia? Meet Amiata volcano, which also doubles as the tallest mountain in Tuscany. This volcano sits 80km south of Siena and is actually considered “extinct” because there has not been any recent activities in the past 200,000-300,000 years.
The best things in life are free: family, love, & SATURNIA’S NATURAL TUSCAN BATH! We all know how instagrammable spots have turned into huge money making businesses with entrance fees, life jackets, parking fees etc, but thankfully, this spot has remained generous and FREE all year round. You heard that right. Open 24 hours for 365 days!
WHERE IS SATURNIA?
Located in Tuscany, halfway in between Florence & Rome sits Saturnia. It is in the province of Grosseto, north central part of Italy.
Saturnia Di Terme coordinates: Latitude: 42.648; Longtitude: 11.513
TRANSPORT ME HERE
Easiest way to get here is by renting your own vehicle and driving through the hills of Tuscany. We rented from Hertz: started our trip in Florence and ended our road trip in Rome. The roads are well paved with clear markings and signs. Definitely use your GPS/ Google Maps to get around. Screenshot directions ahead of time because cell reception is a bit poor in some spots in Tuscany.
As you approach the destination, you might see cars parked alongside the road, DO NOT stop or park there. You will get a ticket!
Drive to the end of the road, make a right following the blue parking sign. The lot is pretty spacious & that is where you can park for free all day long. The area is safe, but don’t leave any valuables visible in the car- throw it in the trunk.
WHAT IS THAT SMELL?
Ever wondered why hotsprings smell like someone is cooking up dozens and dozens of hard boiled eggs?
The water heats up due to the earth pressures and proximity to the core. As it comes through the surface, the warmth dissolves the rich mineral deposits (sulfur in the surrounding rocks/soil) and this chemical reaction creates that eggy smell. The hotter the water, the stronger it’ll be. The smell is actually caused by the bacterias eating up the sulfides in the water. The smell is pungent at first, but you get used to it.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
The thermal waters have a temp of 37.5 °C and brings therapeutic and relaxing properties. The water helps with skin elasticity, psoriasis, relaxes the muscles/aches, rashes, circulation, supports respiratory and many more conditions! Nature truly heals!!!
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Spring! This place attracts locals and tourists from all over the world. Summer crowds are often big and the weather is wayyyyy too warm to soak in a hot bath.
WHAT TO BRING
- Water shoes/flip flops: the pebbles and sharp rocks sitting in the springs is no joke. Couldn’t handle the pain so I ended up having to wear my Birkenstocks (totally destroyed my shoes!)
- Towels: dry yourself before you destroy the rental car with the eggy smell and get fined for it
- Biodegradable Sunscreen: there’s minimal shade here so protect your skin and make sure the sunscreen ingredients won’t harm the mineral deposits here
- Water: hot springs dehydrate you, so bring/ drink plenty of water
- Camera: don’t forget to capture some memories here to look back on!
- Visit during sunrise: you will have this magical place to yourself!
- No changing rooms: come dressed in your bathing suit
- Wear an OLD bathing suit: the eggy smell will linger even after MANY washes…. I made this mistake and wore a brand new bathing suit…
- Remove all jewelry: the sulfur can tarnish silver
- No lifeguard on duty: although it is shallow, always be extra careful
- LEAVE NO TRACE: preserve the beautiful land and keep it clean
Saturnia’s OG tenants- itty bitty red worms….. No one warned me about this- I learned the hard way. As I was relaxing, soaking my body in the springs, I noticed little worms swimming around me & YES I freaked the fuck out! They’re actually harmless, but yuck! This is just an FYI so you don’t get scared. Still totally worth going in and I have no regrets!
WHERE TO STAY
Luckily, there are plenty of options from luxury spa hotels nearby to authentic Tuscan style airbnbs. Below are my recommendations!
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