Saturnia

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Have you asked about Saturnia in Tuscany? We would respond by telling you about Terme di Saturnia, the spa in Saturnia overlooking the swimming pools of the famous resort and the freely and warmer waters copiously gushing further down at the Saturnia waterfalls. Yet, this corner of Tuscany in Maremma at a distance of about 60km from Grosseto is much more than just photos on the warm and relaxing banks and a VIP brochure. It is the history and traces of many centuries.

What are the things to see in Saturnia? Etruscans and Rome, Middle Ages and music but also a legend that indicates this small town as the first in Italy and a bad story about the Devis…

It is true, the Saturnia natural spa, for many centuries now, is the real wonder of this small village in the municipality of Marciano. The capital is located about fifteen kilometers to the south, and the Romans, who were great lovers of water wellbeing, once conquered the site around 280 B.C., turned it into a spa access point.

 

SPA. The water comes from Mount Amiata which is located some 40 kilometres to the north and flows at 37.5° both at the Terme di Saturnia and the Gorello Cascate Mulino saturnia. A long journey enriches the water beneficial Solfurea-carbonic-sulphate-bicarbonate-alkaline properties with a high hydrogen sulphide content of minerals, carbon dioxide and a particular natural element, the Thermal Plankton. This said for the benefit of fans and connoisseurs of thermal virtues, it is necessary to explain the health benefits and pleasure of free diving in its very precious waters. Saturnia hot spring is a unique experience, and you should try to spend a day in the right season and then send us a postcard with the total counting of days you spent there.

You can experience the Saturnia spa in Tuscany in different ways: the first is certainly in the majestic and exclusive organized ‘Terme di Saturnia’ spa centre that among the enormous and fascinating pools includes loungers with parasols, an a par 72 18 hole golf course, wellness circuit, resort residences, restaurants, fitness gyms and also the reconstruction of a Roman bath to fully experience the past. Synonymous with relaxation and pampering for yourself, with the climate of Tuscany assured, everything is called Maremma in this exclusive thermal spa Saturnia Italy!

The Saturnia waterfalls Cascate del Mulino in Tuscany is another way of experiencing the spa baths in a unique way. There will inevitably one day of your stay in Maremma when you will take your towel and you follow the road. But what road? The Saturnia – Pitigliano State Road, two and a half kilometres south of Saturnia; just across the street from the extreme south point of the golf courses of Terme di Saturnia, a step down the road that signposts the falls is the parking, the coffee bar and further down a small miracle of nature.

Here Saturnia offers free-access and natural Thermal baths in a context that is very special. This is true natural waterfalls of sulphurous water that fall on the travertine rock typical of the area and  have created a series of equally natural pools, of different sizes, superimposed on one another in a completely original and seductive scenario. Small tanks at 37.5 ° where you soak ending in a kind of lake that then go into the river!

 

LEGENDS. You take it as you will, maybe you do well to shrug but ... Because the waters flow already hot and the Saturnia hot springs by nature taste and smell of sulfur with not so evanescent traces of mystery: all these things put together are a perfect justification to certain legends.

What legends? One of these is about the Devil, and says that when he comes out from the underworld to take a stroll, he emerges from these warm waters of Saturnia! This is confirmed by one of the Maremma stories that are handed down in these parts, that of the 'Knight and the Devil'. It tells of old times, when a knight went through the woods in the area and came across "a strange sound, a kind of yelp. He looked around and saw a puppy dog. The yelp of the dog, however, soon became obsessive. Looking at it again, the Knight saw that the pup was now an adult dog. The Knight looked at the animal that grew out of proportion ... saw the dog become an even bigger beast .... The beast had two eyes glowing like hot coals and crackling flames that spewed out of its mouth. The Knight thought he had before him the Devil. The Devil's true! Scared and terrified, he began to run wildly, spurring his horse. Extremely upset he arrived in Saturnia. Trembling, he recounted the horrific adventure to all the people he met ... '. It is said that this happened in the area called ‘Le Cave’and you, of course, are all free not to believe it!

 

HISTORY. The first evidence of a settlement in Saturnia is Etruscan and dates back to the 8th century B.C.. The first city of the peninsula, according to legend was forged directly from one of the pagan gods and was called Aurinia. The Romans, who took possession in 280 a. C., gave it its current name and perpetrated its first devastation: in 82 B.C. Saturnia, for the only reason to have hosted the head of the faction of Gaius Marius Populares, was attacked and "conquered" by the troops of the aristocrat Lucius Cornelius Silla, head of the faction of the nobles.

The Roman decadence led to Saturnia first the Goths and then the Lombards - we are around 600 A. D. - but this centre is further mentioned around 1170. Its Castle, at the time, is still under the control of the Siena counts of Tentennano and, in 1216, is directly under the control of the Aldobrandeschis, then under the counts of nearby Santa Fiora. In 1274 it passed under the control of Sovana and becomes in fact land of looting, first in 1299 under Siena and then in 1313 Orvieto which occupies it. Inexplicably, Siena strongly wanted Saturnia and managed to win it at last in 1389. Siena then razed it to the ground while it was under their control. Saturnia had in fact become the main lair of opponents of the Republic and many subversives.

Subsequently Siena rebuilt the area and, between 1454 and the following decade, restored the beautiful city wall, allocating though the land to immigrant families from Lombardy and Emilia Romagna. In 1559 it passed to the Medici from Siena and Saturnia with it. Florence granted it from 1593 to the Marquis Ximenes of Aragona, who made it their stronghold but the town lost its glory until the nineteenth century when Saturnia awoke thanks to the work of a noble named Bernardino Ciacci who, in 1865 after land reclamation and renovations, founded the first spa. Thus began the journey that has made Saturnia one of the most renowned and exclusive spas in Italy.

 

WHAT TO SEE. A photo of Saturnia in Tuscany, Italy will not only have the representation of various waters and vapours, but there are also places to visit, lots to see, maybe in between a swim and another, or a horse ride and a visit to the gym.

The small village of Saturnia in Italy has not exactly the traits of a medieval Tuscan village: this is a different visit and perhaps above all because what we see starts from farther away. Originally Saturnia had four gates which limited its access, but today we can only see one, almost intact: Porta Romana. It is located in the south perimeter of the town, where the central Via Mazzini bends towards via della Chiesa and leads to the beautiful parish church of Santa Maria Maddalena and the alley alongside runs to the ancient Via Clodia: a very short walk and you are in II century B.C.! The door still holds up a section of the Roman walls which then continue in the medieval Aldobrandesca version: you are changing era, a step further and there is the Saturnia Fortress with a small castle built in medieval style in 1929 by the owners, the Ciacci family – with mighty walls, battlements, loopholes and towers at the corners. You can even point and behold the beautiful fortress from an olive branch in front of it.

Returning to the church: watching and looking immediately on your left, is via Italia and, just below, a school where one of the floors houses the Archaeological Museum of Saturnia. There you will find a substantial amount of Etruscan artefacts found between the second half of the 19th century and 1930 by scholars who deepened the local origins on behalf of the noble Ciacci family. The 'Ciacci Collection' -  this was the name  of the findings, was exhibited privately in Saturnia Castle until the 80s and then transferred to the State by the Ciacci family at the Museum of Grosseto. Only in 2003 was Saturnia enriched by the museum that is now available to all visitors.

Parallel to via Italy, to the north, is Piazzale del Bagno Secco where you will find a large tub bordered in stone. This is a Roman cistern for the collection of water. The small town of Saturnia and the small hamlets around it boast Roman ruins. It is rather like a treasure hunt. Other examples include: In Piazza Vittorio Veneto, under the home of the Ciacci family, there are traces of a Roman building with mosaics; the posts of the door are preserved in Porta di Fonte Nuova…in via B. Ciacci, cut in travertine, a Roman sewer has been discovered, and in many parts of the city there are Roman wells and cisterns with barrel vaults…

The several necropolis in Saturnia are located in the immediate surroundings: the best known is that of Puntone, it takes a bit of good will to get there, but then you will be satisfied. From the town of Saturnia as the crow flies, it is not very far, but in between is the Albegna river which instead forces you to get back on the SP10 towards the north then turn west on the State Road. With a little patience and attention you get to the signposted junction that points towards the Necropolis in the open countryside where you will find at least thirty chamber tombs with tumulus and a dozen graves.

 

EVENTS. We at toscanainside.com like to tell you about events in Tuscany: even in this land of sulfur and Etruscans the air exudes of celebration and in particular the Saturnia Italy festival.

The music Festival in Saturnia has existed since 2006. It offers ten high-level concerts that take place in August, free concerts with the desire to make music: jazz, funk, gospel, soul, classical, pop  boasting a really exciting calendar for visitors that is part of the already rich panorama of entertaining initiatives in Terme di Saturnia . If you want to keep up to date on the calendar of events in Tuscany, visit our page!

It is true that you will spend most of your time immersed in the hot spa in Saturnia in full relaxation but, as needed, you can search our itineraries of the area. It deserves more than just a thought, go and visit it!