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Sartunia Hot Springs: Natural Wonder Hidden Away in Tuscany
Hidden away in the south of Tuscany in the area of Maremma are the Terme di Sartunia or the Sartunia thermal baths. The area hosts a world-renown 5-star exclusive hotel and spa. The most incredible part of this area is the natural Cascate del Mulino. These are a beautiful series of waterfalls coming from the ancient dormant volcano Monte Amiata and contain elements of sulfur, carbon, sulfate, bicarbonate, and alkaline. The Sartunia hot springs are one of the most unique things to do in Tuscany! These hot springs make for a great day trip or overnight trip from Florence and are well worth the visit.
Sartunia legend tells of healing properties for people with issues in high blood pressure, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and joint pains. But, the cascate is not just a place for the sick or weak. Anyone can bathe in the free thermal baths and enjoy the natural waters that rock out at just under 99.5°F (37.5°C) year-round. Roman mythology has it the cascate is located at the exact point where Jupiter’s thunderbolt fell against the ground during a battle with Saturn. Which is from whom the town of Sartunia gets its name from. People have been splashing in these baths for thousands of years. There are records of use and inhabitation even before the time of the Etruscans and the Roman conquest in 280 BC. When you visit these hot springs near Florence, you’re not only just taking a dip, but partaking in legend!
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How to Get to the Sartunia Hot Springs:
Rent a Car:
My recommended method of getting to the thermal springs is to rent a car and drive yourself down to Sartunia. From Florence, it’s about a 3-hour drive. The last hour is all through the winding hills of Tuscany, and it is gorgeous. From Rome, the drive is just over 2 hours and is less scenic, but still pretty. Rent a car if you plan on going for a day trip, as it will be quicker (and probably cheaper). There are several car rental agencies in Florence (most on Borgo Ognissanti). We ended up renting a Smart Car Cabriolet from Knowleggi City Rentals. They let us pay in cash and with a debit card, and were very helpful after we had some severe issues with Hertz a few doors down.
To get to the hot springs just type “Terme di Sartunia” into Google Maps!
I would NOT recommend this method, though it is possible. It will take you about 6.5 hours from Florence. Take the train from Florence to Albinia, then take bus 10/0 to Manciano, which only leaves once a day at 1:40. From there you can take the bus to Sartunia (Line 17/P-R 4 times a day). Needless to say, this is not the best method to get to the Sartunia Hot Springs! But if it is your only option, Rome2Rio will help you get there.
What to Know about Sartunia Hot Springs:
- These springs are completely FREE!!
- There is nowhere to change at the springs. Make sure you come ready or are prepared to change in the car
- The springs have a very strong sulfur smell. Don’t be alarmed! But you will probably want to take off any jewelry that may change colors due to the elements.
- Pack light! This is a free facility and there is nowhere really to put any of your belongings. Limit valuable items! See below for what to bring to the hot springs.
- Pack a few extra towels in the car to put on the floor of your trunk and your car seats. This way the rental doesn’t end up smelling like sulfur.
- Pack a dry set of clothes in the car to change into. That way you don’t have to ride back to your hotel or Florence/Rome in a damp swimsuit that smells like sulfur.
- Think of the pools like different filtering levels. The ones at the top are rush and flow, and the ones at the bottom are more stagnant.
- The pools at the bottom may have a few little red worms that are harmless. They can kind of freak you out if you are unfamiliar with them. They are normal and only live in hot springs. Supposing any remain on you when you get out, they will soon die out of the water.
- If you’re going during high season parking can be a real problem, so be prepared for the struggle! If you are staying at a nearby hotel, it will be best to walk.
- Since this is a free spring, it can get crowded! Don’t let this deter you though! Try and visit during off times and see what works best for you!
What to Bring:
- Tevas or some other flip flops or sandals to wear at least to and from the car. I Love my Tevas because I can wear them into the water without any fear of losing them or them being destroyed. Save your feet, invest in Tevas.
- Towel – I always pack in my suitcase my microfiber towel. You never know what sort of trouble with water you are going to run into, and situations like these are perfect! The quick-drying microfiber towel that packs up nice and small is the perfect answer to your hot spring trepidations. I use the Wise Owl Towl – you can find it on Amazon. Seriously, it goes in my bag on EVERY trip. It’s worth the investment now.
- Lightweight Robe – While this isn’t necessary, all the locals had them, and they look COOL. It looked so night to get out of the water and after drying off put on a robe to walk to the car! If you’ve got room in your bag, I would totally do this! This is basically the perfect one on Amazon.
- Dry Bag – If you want to keep some things with you like your phone, wallet, keys, etc…totally recommend investing in a dry bag! This is the one that I use.
- Camera – I would not plan on bringing your camera to the hot springs with you. My lens was constantly fogging up, and the best pictures I ended up getting were taken on my phone! If you do bring your camera make sure to bring something to dry the lens with. I would recommend bringing a GoPro and putting your phone in a waterproof case.
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