Though, it might be surprising to those who think of Tuscany and only envision its rolling hills and vineyards, hot springs are a major attraction in this region of Italy. Throughout Tuscany, geothermal heated springs collect mineral-rich water into pools both small and large. While some of the springs are owned by hotels or medical centers, there are plenty of free pools to visit in the area. You can either make a point to visit springs further afield or choose the one that is closest to your villa rental. Here is a list of the most popular springs that won’t cost you a dime:
Saturnia- Located in the Maremma area of southern Tuscany, the hot springs located here are impeccable and easy to find. The sprawling landscape of wooded hills and valleys make the view truly breathtaking. Waterfalls rush into pools that are etched into rocks. The water is white from all of the minerals including sulfur, carbon, and calcium. If you get too hot, just take a dip in the Albegna River conveniently located near the pools.
Petrioli – The hot springs found here radiate peace and tranquility. The easy distance from Florence makes these thermal baths some of Tuscany’s most popular. The physical backdrop of the pools is truly enchanting, essentially placing you in the midst of a forest filled with oaks, elms, and strawberry trees (whose fruit is not the same as that of the strawberries that you're probably used to). The most interesting, historical element of this site is that the springs are located right below the ruined walls of original Roman thermal pools.
Bagno Vignoni- This small village isn’t mentioned much in your average trip brochure, but it is certainly worth a visit for its thermal baths. Bagno Vignoni is truly a hot spring dream. The town “square” isn’t what you expect – it’s literally a huge thermal pool enclosed on three sides by walls. Historically, these baths were used as a stopping point by pilgrims on their way to Rome.
There are plenty of villas for rent in Tuscany that are nearby or relatively close to the hot springs listed above. Treat yourself to the ultimate spa excursion and soak the day away. Best part? You don’t have to pay a thing. You can visit Tuscany’s free natural springs any time. Make sure to bring an old bathing suit though -- the sulfur can be super tough to get out!