Bagni San Filippo


Bagni of San Filippo, Bagni San Filippo, Hot Springs of San Filippo and San Filippo Hot Springs? Do we really need to insert that ‘of’ preposition? Many use it, however the relaxing and purifying thermal waters of Bagni San Filippo spa or Bagni San Filippo Val d'Orcia, as others call it, are not affected by this dilemma.

Bagni San Filippo is a small village under the town of Castiglione Val d'Orcia, located about 520 meters above sea level, 60 km from Siena: we are at the centre of the artistic, natural and cultural park in Val d'Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tiny corner of Tuscany has so many reasons to be called in different ways. You can even call it ‘Fosso Bianco’. But what does ‘Fosso’ stand for? It is a road, a stream but also a charming area. This last denomination is the most modern one, but we we’ll discuss that later, when we delve into the free natural hot spring in Bagni San Filippo.

To tell the truth, the name of this small Tuscan village has something to do with a guy called Filippo. Filippo is not, as many think, to be identified with Filippo Benizi, a religious person of the Order of the Servants of Holy Mary who was made saint in 1671 and hid here in 1269 to escape the papal election ... anyway, even if he is not the identity behind the name of this coveted location, everything starts from him. In fact, everyting starts from his cave and the story from the thirteenth-century that made this town famous. As above mentioned, Benizi hid from the great papal election by the Conclave in a cave near Bagni di San Filippo in Tuscany. In the fifteenth century this cave became a beautiful oratory with a vault shape dug in the rock. It is the first location to visit for those who arrive in San Filippo in Tuscany - Italy. In the direction of Campiglia, you need to stop in a forest of hazel trees and, after a short walk through the woods, you will find it: among the rich natural landscape and the silence you will notice an iron mesh set in a rock wall, with behind a small door. This marks the 'cave' of Bagni San Filippo: stop. Admire the fascinating atmosphere.
Filippo stayed in the cave for about three months. After dodging the papal election, he decided to thank the people of Bagni San Filippo who had helped him during his hermitage. San Filippo Benizi hit his stick on a rock three times and healing waters began to gush out of it. Is this just a beautiful legend or is it much more than that? We will let you research about this mysterious passage of the history of Bagni San Filippo but, whatever your conclusion, the fact remains that Bagni San Filippo is now a coveted destination amongst all spas in Tuscany.

Do you have a San Filippo Tuscany map? It is a small beautiful town hidden in the forest of Val d'Orcia in an imaginary triangle that we could create to connect Campiglia, Abbadia San Salvatore and Radicofani. How to reach Bagni San Filippo is therefore not a problem.
When you are here you will find a village with a few houses, surrounded by greenery, where the peace and tranquillity are never interrupted: the central point of your stay will definitely be the forest that surrounds you because the combination of forest and spa create a magical atmosphere.

The forest, Fosso Bianco in Tuscany, Mount Amiata, Val d'Orcia, terme San Filippo: this is a soothing and stringent mix. Let's find out about it. The main street is entitled Fosso Bianco Bagni San Filippo, which leads to the beginning of the village whether you come from the north or from the west. When you follow it you will hear the sound of the river flowing in the woods, and this sound will accompany you all the way to Bagni San Filippo hot spring. Walk through the woods; several dirt roads lead to the village, but follow the river which will take you between ponds and thermal water pools with varying temperatures... after a short walk you will find yourself in front of the 'White Whale Waterfall'. It is beautiful, huge and impressive, a massive white limestone temple nestled in the forest with thermal waters at 48°: the fact that it is the only white material created by nature along the river makes it even more alluring.
Nature is always the protagonist in Bagni San Filippo: trekking will be your second activity between a spa bath and a horse ride, a bike ride and a glimpse of Fosso Bianco and Monte Amiata.

The San Filippo hot springs are freely accessible but well-organized and have many facilities at your disposal. The area of 'Terme San Filippo' is in fact equipped with a hotel with spa and wellness centre, ready to welcome you with spa and body treatments, mud baths and clay prepared in the best way using traditional techniques. All this is surrounded by the green forest and compositions of white beautiful limestone.

Bagni San Filippo is known as a village that was created by water. The formation of the ancient travertine on which the whole village lies is due to its thermal waters. Moreover, the continuous deposition of those layers of calcium carbonate, has favoured over time many activities including, a few centuries ago, the birth of a real industry, that of the 'plastic of tartari’.

To describe this very original activity we must go back to the eighteenth century, still in Bagni San Filippo, when Leonardo De Vegni, exploiting the particular cementation property of the water, started making a wide range of objects using a technique invented by him and known as ‘plastica dei tartari'. The technique gained much attention and success at the time, to the point that even the Grand Duke of Tuscany exhibited much interest. In 1766 Leonardo, by now known as Leonardo of the 'Tartars' of Bagni San Filippo set up a workshop to produce his artefacts on a larger scale. In 1788 De Vegni presented a ‘Memorandum on the Plastica de' Tartari’ to the Accademia dei Fisiocritici of Siena in which he described the characteristics of his technique, obtaining a positive response. Do you know what remains today in Bagni San Filippo of Leonardo De Vegni? Surely, a good memory and many beautiful quotes in history and architecture books but not much more. Just to give you some advice; do not go looking for him around the village because, let's face it, Leonardo De Vegni spent a lot of his life in Bologna and Rome where he died in 1801, although he was originally from Chianciano Terme.

How long has Bagni San Filippo been a spa centre for? You will need to know this to refrain from thinking, once you arrive, that you are the first ones to discover this beautiful corner of Tuscany. Tuscany San Filippo is mentioned in the documents of the monastery of Abbadia San Salvatore dating to the year 859, but before everyone else, the Romans arrived here first. San Filippo hot springs was a regular destination of the Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent loved staying here, Cosimo I even financed a vast restructuring plan of the spas in 1566. In the seventeenth century the Grand Duke Ferdinand II spread the word that he came here to cure his headache. It is evident that this town at the foothills of Mount Amiata was a destination favoured by many.

Bagni San Filippo is a small treasure hidden in the Siena area of Tuscany. You will not end up here by chance, nor will you reach it from any other famous route along the standard tourist roads. Hot spring Bagni San Filippo is a spot you will have to look for on your map, you will have to travel through the depths of Tuscany and arrive here with a great passion to discover – just like its inhabitants.

Something is still not clear! If it is not Benizi, the monk who did not want to be a pope, who, then, was Filippo to whom we owe the name of this town? The answer is at the centre of the village: a small church dedicated to San Filippo the apostle. Philip the Apostle. Simple and straightforward as in the best tradition. Have a good trip.

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