San Casciano dei Bagni
Set on the southern border of the province of Siena, San Casciano dei Bagni has been celebrated, since earliest times, for its abundant thermal waters. The 42 springs that flow out profusely within its territory were discovered by the Etruscans and developed by the Romans. The feudal aristocracies of the Middle Ages also made great use of them. They were at the height of their fame in the period that went from the Renaissance to the middle of the 18th Century.
Today, they feed the ultramodern Fonteverde Spa Centre which very quickly become one of the most famous and acclaimed spas in the world.
Tanks to its densely wooded, uncontaminated environment, San Casciano dei Bagni is also one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers, who can enjoy an ideal stay. The Medieval layout of the historical centre of San Casciano dei Bagni has a maze of narrow streets, alleyways and squares that wrap themselves round the hill and wind upwards towards the Collegiate and the Town Hall. The only remains of the ancient “suburbium” is the church of Santa Maria della Colonna, standing in the heart of the countryside surrounding the spa area and dating back to the 4th to 5t Century.
The Celle sul Rigo frazione is not far from there. Crowning a hill that dominates the Paglia Valley, in front of Monte Amiata, it has sweeping and fascinating views that were much admired by the poet Giosue’ Carducci during the years he spent here with his family. Palazzone, San Casciano dei Bagni other frazione, is mainly rural and produces high quality wine and olive oil. The Castle of Fighine is a gem that shouldn’t be missed. From the castle, you can see right over the Val di Chiana as far as the distant peaks of the Umbria Apennines.
The sights of San Casciano dei Bagni
This charming small village is still in its original natural setting of thick woodlands and panoramas, the ideal place to retune. And what a better location for what one prestigious American magazine described as the world’s most beautiful thermal springs? And for those who think that San Casciano has little more to offer than its hot and sulphurous waters, the Palazzone area offers the heart of its culture in the form of wine and oil.
Not far away, on a rise that commands over the Paglia valley, the charming small village of Celle sul Rigo can be found, for several years the home of the poet Giosue’ Carducci.
On the way back, a stop over at Radicofani, just by the Monte Amiata, is to be considered a must rather than a suggestion. Tiny, cosy, steep and difficult to reach; it hosts a few tens of inhabitants and two restaurants. There must be a reason why they usually are fully booked...
Fonteverde Thermal Centre
Localita’ Terme, 1