Tuscany is doted throughout with small terme, or thermal baths, whose hot waters flow from the natural springs deep under the earth’s surface. The water’s warmth is provided by the nearby Monte Amiata volcano. This lava dome provides not only the heat for the springs, but also the added benefit of silky blue waters that soothes the body, and is said to heal.

Since Etruscan times, the springs have been valued for their restorative properties. Whether the waters can heal or just allow us to relax and enjoy the warmth of the waters in the cold winter air, thousands of people take the waters in Tuscany each year.

The minerals and gases contained in the waters are different at each of the terme, due to the water flow and concentration at various locations. Carbon dioxide is said to promote drainage and strengthen the immune system, while sulphur is said to relieve pain and aid in relaxation. My first experience at Terme Di San Giovanni Rapalano, near Siena. It was such a great experience to sit outside in the cold, covered with silky warm water, watching the families around me enjoying the pool as though it were the hottest days of summer. All this, relaxation and possibly healing, too? Count me in..

My second visit was a forested, natural setting….perfect for the surprise of finding a sulfur iceberg around the corner, towering over the running waters of the Bagni San Filippo, located in the province of Siena, and not far from Monte Amiata. It’s waters contain calcium carbonate deposit, which form white concretions and waterfall. It is a memorable sight to see people sitting on the permanently silent waterfalls, with the warm, rocky and inviting healing waters below.

Some of the best-known spas are Montecatini Terme, the amazing tiered Terme di Saturnia, in the province of Grosseto and closer to the Tyrrhenian sea and the ones that I mentioned above.

For anyone visiting Tuscany, know that this is one of the best-kept secrets. I highly recommend immersing yourself..literally… into these beautiful waters.