Ranking of the 10 best free natural spas in Italy

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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When we need a few days or just a few hours of relaxation, there is no better choice than that of go to the spa. Sometimes, however, spending time in these places is quite expensive and we cannot always afford this whim. There is a solution: in Italy there are numerous places where the baths are free. Obviously we must forget the modern establishments with changing rooms, services, shops and all the other comforts that these centers usually offer. Available for free, however, you will have all the beauty and the natural benefit that thermal water can offer to the body but also to the mind. From North to South Italy offers some places where spas are free, here is a ranking that brings together the 10 best.

10 - Bullicame, Central Italy

  • Where it is: Viterbo, Lazio
  • How to get there: at Strada Bulicame, about 2,5 km from the city center, near the intersection between Strada Tuscanese and Strada Terme

Also named by Dante in a canto of hell (you can read the passage on a stele specially placed to the left of the source), the thermal baths of Bullicame (to bullicate, i.e. boil) provide a tub of hot water and one of cold water, where you can immerse yourself at no cost.

9 - Terme di Caronte, Southern Italy

  • Where is it: Caronte, Lamezia Terme (CZ), Calabria
  • How to get there: use the Lamezia airport in Sant'Eufemia and then take a taxi, after about 6 km you will arrive at the junction of the "Bagni" locality which marks the direction towards the thermal springs. By car, take the A3 to the corresponding Lamezia junction, or the SS 280

The free spas are located about 300 meters from the entrance to the paid establishment. Will find water that flows at 39 ° but also a cold waterfall that comes from the adjacent river. Unfortunately, being free and not managed by any body or association, especially during the summer you can find it not only crowded but also a bit dirty, the ideal would be to attend it at the beginning of the hot season.

8 - Terme del Bagnaccio, Central Italy

  • Where it is: Viterbo, Lazio
  • How to get there: at Strada Castiglione, about 8 km from the city center, use the SS Cassia coming from both Rome and Siena

Free admission is currently the subject of discussion, given that the Bagnaccio Baths are free, but they are managed by an association that takes care of them and asks for a contribution of 5 Euros for the membership card. Pending the dispute over the legitimacy of this decision, you can take advantage of these spas at a very low cost. Visitors to this area can find hyperthermal (65-66 ° C) and hypothermic (23-29 ° C) sources, or choose to take advantage of the vapors released by insufflations.

7 - Thermal spring of Sorgeto, Southern Italy

  • Where is it: Ischia, Forio, Naples, Campania
  • How to get there: from Forio arrive in the hamlet of Panza and from there continue to Sorgeto, you arrive in a small square from where 234 steps start

The island of Ischia is famous for its thermal springs, as well as being a popular tourist destination. For this reason, the spas, although highly sought after by people from all over the world, are very expensive! Fortunately, there are also free spas available to users. Going down the suggestive 200 steps, you will find at the Sorgeto thermal baths hot water that reaches a temperature of 90 ° when there is low tide. Beware of burns! Look for a spot where warmer water is mitigated by cooler water in the sea.

6 - Bagni di San Filippo, Central Italy

  • Where is it: Castiglione d'Orcia (SI), Tuscany
  • How to get there: reach the town of Bagni San Filippo, park on the branch of the Provinciale 61 that crosses the town, go up the river on a dirt path for about a hundred meters

Called by the locals "White Whale", due to the enormous limestone formation that the thermal waters have created with their flow, the free baths are close to the course of the Fosso Bianco river, near the paid spa. You will find in front of you a still waterfall, suggestive and enchanting, where you can relax thanks to the thermal waters whose temperature reaches 48 °. At the bottom of the puddles you will also find the precious thermal mud which, once spread on the skin, has a naturally smoothing action.

5 - Vulcano Terme, Southern Italy

  • Where is it: Lipari (ME), Sicily
  • How to get there: take the hydrofoil or ferry from Milazzo and, once on the island, choose the location with pools, stoves and fumaroles you prefer

Even these spas are not completely free but the price to pay is really negligible, if compared to the beauty of the island. Your contribution serves the company that takes care of the cleaning, surveillance and maintenance of the spa areas to continue to do their job and keep this place a true paradise. The island's hyperthermal waters are highly sulphurous, muds and vapors are very effective natural thermal products for skin smoothing, relieve joint problems, treat respiratory diseases.

4 - Free baths of Saturnia, Cascate del Mulino, Central Italy

  • Where is it: Saturnia, Manciano (GR), Tuscany
  • How to get there: take the Sp 10 that connects Montemerano to the village of Saturnia, when you meet a rather obvious bend look for a small road (called via della Follonata) that leads directly to the Cascate del Mulino

Looking for a bit of relaxation here, you can also savor and enjoy a beautiful natural context within which these spas are inserted. You can get wet in the large limestone pools shaped by the flow of waters, whose properties are known worldwide. The bar and restaurant near the car park is a convenient place for those who want to eat or take a shower (for a fee), and it is also advisable to avoid weekends and holidays in order not to find too many crowds. The water of the springs it flows at a temperature of 37 °.

3 - Free Baths of Petriolo, Central Italy

  • Where is it: Petriolo, Monticiano (SI), Tuscany
  • How to get there: take the Siena-Grosseto highway and follow the junctions with the indication "Bagni di Petriolo" which lead to the Sp 4, or the Provinciale di Petriolo. The free baths are after about 3 km, at the point where the provincial viaduct crosses the Farma

After those of Saturnia they are the best known and most popular, not only in Italy but above all among foreign tourists, so avoid weekends, both in high and low season! Going here early in the morning, perhaps during the week, you can grab the best seats, that is, immediately under the thermal water jet in one of the limestone basins. In fact, since the paid establishment was built, the scope of the source has been significantly reduced. For this reason, the Petriolo baths no longer live up to their celebrity, but are equally appreciated thanks to fascinating naturalistic context (the bathrooms are located in the heart of the Merse Natural Park and the pools overlook suggestive ruins) and thanks to thefrigidarium-calidarium effect obtained by passing from the warm waters of the thermal spring to the Farma river, colder.

2 - Fordongianus Baths, Southern Italy

  • Where it is found: Fordongianus (OR), Sardinia
  • How to get there: starting from the capital Oristano and entering the hinterland in the direction of Fonni and Barbagia along the SS 388

A truly suggestive and enchanting scenery for these "almost" free spas, even here a very small sum is required but it is really worth it. The free bathrooms are in fact located in an archaeological thermal complex dating back to the 55nd century AD, from the Roman era. The springs that feed these spas are hyperthermal and flow at a temperature of °, the waters are sulphurous and also contain traces of chlorine, nitrous acid and sulfuric acid. These features make them ideal for the treatment of rheumatism and arthrosis, as well as for diseases of the respiratory system, diseases of the skin and of the female genital system.

1 - Baths of Bormio, Leonardo da Vinci's Pozza, Northern Italy

  • Where is it: Valdidentro (SO), Lombardy
  • How to get there: starting from Bormio, head towards the Stelvio pass and turn towards the ski resort of Livigno. A short distance away there is a path closed to the circulation of vehicles, follow the path in the wood that runs along the stream, after a walkway overlooking the river you can reach the Leonardo's pool.

The name of Leonardo is associated with these spas precisely because of the testimony that the Tuscan genius left in his works of the visit to these places. The name of Bormio appears in fact in its very famous Codex Atlanticus. Why did Leonardo find himself passing through Bormio? He was invited to Valtellina by Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, to carry out an inspection aimed at water regulation of the river Adda. The free baths collect the excess water that passes from the famous Bagni Vecchi and Bagni Nuovi, the paid establishments of the town. Some curiosities: even if it may seem strange, in medieval times the waters of the Bormio baths were not as precious as today, but they were used to wash the sheep. Unwittingly, the shepherds offered a great benefit to animal health!

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