One of my favorite things to do in Italy is going to the spas. Sometimes I’ll even treat myself to a roman bath, or find a nice Terme along the route to stop at. For those that don’t know a Terme is the same as a hot spring, a lot in Italy are natural and free, which is even better for tourists. Many of these thermal baths are found in the Tuscan region, and I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of them.
Note: there is etiquette to these Terme, wear a bathroom from the car with your swimsuit already on. Leave your valuables in the car, and walk with flip flops to the edge of the hot springs.
Some of my favorites are:
Bagni di Petriolo: Between Sienna and Grosseto the water here runs down the hill into the Farma river, so what is neat about this place is the hot water is separate from the cold water, so you could do as the Romans did, and soak in the hot, then soak in the cold.
Bagni Vignoni: Talk about a beautiful location, with a large steaming pool of water and an older church, it’s quite simply serene and so relaxing. If you are looking for a great spa, look no further.
Viterbo: Viterbo is the closes Terme to Rome, so this is one I might visit on my first day since I always fly into Rome, and it’s such a great way to get over jetlag. This Terme isn’t the nicest one, those are usually in Tuscany, but the shallow water, and the nice spas nearby offer items not always found in the typical Terme.
Saturnia: This is a popular spot, and understandably so, there are many levels of rocky outcroppings with the water cascading down. Don’t miss out on putting your back against the waterfall for an outstanding hot water massage.
San Filippo: Beautiful and relaxing are the two words I think of when I picture San Filippo, located in the rolling picturesque hills of Val D’orcia, with the beautiful white mountains behind the terme.
With the spas, you will find many in the Tuscan region, all offering services like hot stone massages, manicures, mud scrubs, and waxings. I’ll often get a massage or two while I’m in Tuscany as nothing beats the relaxing component of being in Tuscany and getting a massage.
Now unlike most Italian men I’m a little modest about my body hair, so before I go out to a Terme or get a massage I’ll often break out my Razorba to tame my immense back hair. Usually I’ll do this before I head on my trip, but I always pack it just in case I need it. I’m not one for waxing as it’s too painful, but if you were ok with it, many spas around Tuscany will take care of male waxing. For me, a few minutes in the shower and i’m good to go.
My recommendation though regarding Terme’s is to at least visit one of the natural and free ones on your trip to Italy, either Viterbo as it’s close to Rome, or one of the others I mentioned in Tuscany. It’s an amazing experience, and very rejuvenating at the same time.