Photo: JarleR
Photo: JarleR

I’ve lived with the Saturnia Hot Springs in my backyard for more than half a decade. In that time, I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks for when to visit and what to bring.

For those not in the know, there’s a free hot spring just outside of Saturnia where the water flows into naturally carved travertine pools at a constant 37°C . Think of it as the most luxurious bath in the most luxurious setting ever!

The springs are extremely popular with locals, Italian tourists and international visitors, so if you like your privacy or just want to be comfortable, stick to these tips!

1. Avoid peak times

Italian tourists are creatures of habit, so if you want to avoid the crowds, consider getting up early or dropping in before or after any meal. That’s midday until about 2pm and 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Most people will be out eating, so you can have at least one section of the pools to yourself.

2. Head further downstream for privacy

I’ll admit big crowds and screaming kids aren’t my idea of a relaxing time, so if you want something a little more secluded, park your car in the hot springs car park and then back track on foot along the road in the direction of Saturnia.

The river of warm water travels through the field on the side of the road and all the way to the Terme di Saturnia Spa Centre about 500 metres further down. There are plenty of spots along the way where you can have a more private dip if you’re willing to walk through the field to find them.

3. Pack supplies

Hot weather and hot springs seems like a bad idea, but you’d be surprised to see how many people visit in summer. If you’re planning on stopping by, treat it like a trip to the beach. Bring sunscreen and an umbrella if you have one, as well as plenty of water.

The area around the hot springs is dry and dusty with no shade. If you’re planning on spending the day here, you’ll want some shade to lounge in between dips. And maybe some snacks. The bar next door is pricey and doesn’t serve quality fare, so consider packing a picnic.

Photo: The Bode
Photo: The Bode

4. Take care of your sunnies

I ruined a very good pair of sunglasses in the hot springs. Sulfuric hot water does the lenses no good, so try not to get them wet or you’ll end up with blotches that can eat away at the UV layer after a while. I wouldn’t wear my best bathers here either!

5. Watch your knees, elbows, back and other sensitive areas

The rocks in and around the hot springs are very slippery. If you own a pair of those water socks or slippers with the grips, wear them! Otherwise be very careful when you walk through the springs.

Also keep a close eye out for varying depths between the pools. You can get caught out as the water levels change or run into rocks while climbing from pool to pool. The current is also very strong in some sections and you can be pulled down a mini waterfall.

6. Don’t park on the road

The hot springs have a huge dedicated parking space. To get there, just follow the dirt road down to the springs and turn right at the bar.

Ignore all the parked cars that crowd the road to the parking space. They’re illegally parked and risk a hefty fine if the police catch them – and they do drive by here to fine people regularly!

Photo: Bonus1Up
Photo: Bonus1Up

7. Bring a torch for nighttime visits

The hot springs are a very romantic place for an after dinner dip, but if you’re visiting after dark bring a torch or two because there are no lights to guide your way in and out of the slippery pools, as you can see from this picture.

8. Watch for heatstroke

Be careful about spending too much time in the water, especially if you’re pregnant or with young kids. The water is 37°C, so it’s easy to become dehydrated and disorientated, especially during summer. The recommended length of time per dip is 20 minutes. After that you should get out and have a break.

9. Take off your jewellery

There is something in the hot spring water that rusts anything but pure gold, so take off your jewellery and don’t put it on again until you’ve had a good scrub. I ruined a lovely necklace this way.

If you do forget and ruin a beloved piece, get some toothpaste and a toothbrush and you should be able to rub the worst of the rust off.

Saturnia spa centre
Photo: TdS

10. Treat yourself at the Terme di Saturnia Spa Complex 

Roughing in at the Saturnia Hot Spring might not be your cup of tea, so if you want to enjoy the same water in a more luxurious setting, head to the Terme di Saturnia Spa Complex down the road.

The water is cleaner and warmer because it comes directly from the source, but all day entry will cost you €22. I suggest saving some euros and visiting in the afternoon when parking is free and you only pay €17 to swim from 3pm to 7:30pm.

The spa centre has jacuzzis, artificial waterfalls and a cold water pool, as well as a great shower and change room, so you get your money’s worth. Just note, the umbrellas, sundecks and lounge chairs cost more, so if you don’t cough up, you have to sit on the grass.

30 thoughts on “Insider’s guide to the Saturnia Hot Springs

  1. Lynn Helstad says:

    Hello there,

    I was wondering about the facilities at the hot springs. Is there a place to shower and change? If there isn’t will some of the B & B allow you to rent a room for the night but only shower and leave? We have to be back in Rome that night to fly back to America in the morning. Any great places to eat near there? We are coming from Tenuta de Rota out side of Florence…Any insight would be appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Lynn Helstad

  2. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    Hi Lynn,
    The Cascate del Mulino don’t have shower facilities, but you can rent a room nearby and perhaps speak to the owners if they’d be willing to just let you shower and leave. However, you might actually be better off going to the Terme di Saturnia in that case and just getting an afternoon ticket. Full day entry is €25, while afternoon is €20. The spa complex has shower facilities. As for great local restaurants, our favourite and most visitors’ favourite is Da Paolino in Manciano. It’s got great reviews on Tripadvisor and is a local institution. Enjoy your trip!

  3. Italiangirl says:

    Can we be inside for the terme springs?
    Rather than on the grass outside? It is now October. Grazi

  4. Neta says:

    Is it a good idea to get there in November? What kind of weather should i expect ?.. thanks!

  5. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    Hi Neta, In November, it will be cold – average temperature is in the teens – so it’ll be pretty nasty when you have to get in and out of the hot springs, but lovely and warm once you’re in the water. The days are mostly fine with little rain, so all in all, it’s a nice time to visit and there are less people, which is always pleasant.

  6. Michael Kundu says:

    We’ll be coming in November 2017 for part of our 25th wedding anniversary (via Iceland, Paris and Geneva!) – I’m hoping that the Springs will still be open and available this autumn – any other advice?

  7. Pam says:

    Hi Elisa,
    Thank you for the good advice! I’ve read in some reviews that there are red worms in the water, I believe they’re some sort of fly larvae. I’ve only seen this in a few reviews so I was wondering if this a seasonal or cyclical thing, and if so is there a way to find out when the worms are problematic?

  8. Teresa Capuana says:

    Hi we’re coming to stay for a couple of nights in mid July. Is it too hot to use the springs? Should we reconsider and plan to stay/do other things in Tuscany?

  9. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    Nope! The hot springs are extremely popular in summer! Although I would recommend bringing a beach umbrella or something that provides some shade because it can be hot outside of the hot springs and there aren’t any trees to relax under.

  10. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    To be honest, the worms are always there. Except in winter. I don’t really see them in winter. They prefer the hot climate. They are disgusting to look at, but they are harmless. I’ve swum with them and nothing has ever happened to me. I know it’s hard to take the advice of a stranger, but it’s really an issue of personal preference. They are just bugs, but I understand if they gross people out.

  11. Hedd Davies says:

    Hi
    We’re travelling with our 8 month old daughter- are the springs suitable for babies?

  12. Dweep says:

    Hi Elisa we would be there mid September. We are staying at a hotel in Saturnia for a night. What kind of weather should we expect?

  13. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    Hi Hedd, yes, but I would check with with your GP just in case. Usually it’s recommended that no one spend more than 20 minutes in the water at a time. Dehydration is a real risk, since the water is 37°C, so be sure to bring plenty of water and remember that there is no shade in the area.

  14. Karen says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the information. I an wondering if we can bring food in the hit springs area because some of my companions have special dietary strictions that the bar you mentioned might not cater to. We are planning to go this November.

  15. Nazila says:

    Hi Elisa, thanks for the info! I live in Napoli but want to visit Saturnia. To clarify, the water stays warm throug November? Grazie!

  16. Johnny says:

    Buon giorno Elisa
    We’re visiting from Canada on Oct. 6, 2019 on our way from Florence to Napoli for a few hours. Do you think it will busy on Sunday, Oct 6, 2019?

  17. Nancy Cole says:

    you say to avoid peak times—do the visitors start in april?—we’re hoping to visit over the easter (april 17-21, 2019) weekend.
    also looking for horseback riding in the area.
    about the worms—i don’t care but my family might be freaked out—are they going to be on our skin when we get out of the water or are they just like tadpoles in the water? red worms where i live are several inches long–are they that big? a few here and there or are they prominent in the water?

  18. Lori says:

    Hi Elisa,
    Thanks for all the wonderful tips. Wonder if you can recommend a good restaurant with nice Tuscany view but not too expensive anywhere between Saturnia and Pienza, or in Pienza. We’ll first do the hot spring soak after arriving in Rome and hire car pick up about 2/3pm. Then stay 1 night in Pienza. The rest of our August Italy trip is Amalfi and Sicily. So we want to spend 1 good night in Tuscany and eat in a really good place for dinner. Thank you so much, Lori

  19. Marie Martinez says:

    Are there lockers in the nearby hotel so that we can hold our belongings there? If so what is the charge?
    Is the hotel walking distance to the springs? Thank you!

  20. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    No, there’s no hotel nearby or lockers. The cascate del mulino are in the middle of a field, so I wouldn’t bring valuables with me. It’s a little like going to the beach. You can leave your bags on the ground near the hot springs and swim with them in your eye line. The Terme di Saturnia spa on the other hand has lockers, but it’s a paid spa and hotel, so you have to pay to swim in the water.

  21. Elisa Scarton Detti says:

    A great place to eat in Saturnia is I Due Cippi. Manciano has Da Paolino, which is really good. Castiglione della Pescaia has Trattoria Toscana, which has a Michelin star. While our best, but not cheapest restaurant is Montemerano’s Da Caino, which has two Michelin stars

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