Tuscany has many naturally occurring hot springs across the region. Most are now part of a spa center, but there are a few that are absolutely free to the public. Looking at the map, we realized that one of the thermal baths would be on our way home from Siena. We left Siena mid-afternoon so we could enjoy an hour or two at Bagni San Filippo. With the help of our GPS and many road signs pointing the way, we didn’t even get lost! We were starting to get the hang of this rental-car-in-Italy thing.
Bagni San Filipo wasn’t hard to find once we saw the sign. You’ll probably see the lines of cars before you see the sign. Park your car on the side of the road and don’t forget to grab your towel! From the road, there’s a nice trail so you can hike down the side of the hill.
When we reached the bottom, I was surprised to see how many people were there. Some were laying out on their towels, while others were in the natural pools. The water in the pools was a little cooler than bath tub water, but it was still relaxing. We had plenty of empty pools to choose from so we found one near the top. Always get near the top of the hill because the water runs down the hill and cools off as it goes. So the pools at the top are warmer than the pools at the bottom of the hill.
Legend has it that the water has healing powers due to all of the minerals in it. There are some massive formations of calcium deposits along the trail, and the largest one is known as the “White Whale.” Even if you don’t plan on lazing away in the hot spring pools, hiking the trail is such a beautiful way to spend an afternoon outdoors. And since the water is always warm, you can go any time of year!