Free spas in Tuscany: 8 sites where you can bathe for free

Where are the free spas in Tuscany? Here are eight sites, including tubs, pools and puddles, where you can bathe for free.

When people say “thermal baths” they usually think of luxurious establishments with pools, indoors or outdoors, that channel water from a nearby spring and where you enter strictly for a fee. However, not everyone knows that there are, all over Italy, several free, free spas that are very popular and where one can bathe in even very hot and healing waters without shelling out a penny. Tuscany is the Italian region with the largest number of free spas, some of which are very famous and popular, while others are semi-unknown. Here are the ones we have selected, for a water-focused vacation.

1. San Filippo Baths

These are perhaps the most famous free spas in Tuscany: San Filippo Baths is a charming resort of Val d’Orcia and its free spas are located a short distance from the village, reachable from here with a simple walk of a few minutes, or by leaving your car in the paid parking lots along provincial road 61 and then following the signs pointing in the direction of the Balena Bianca and Fosso Bianco, where the San Filippo Baths free thermal baths are located, immersed in a lush forest, and decidedly scenic because of the limestone formations created by the sulfurous waters (you can recognize them immediately because of their smell that can be smelled all the way from the road), which gush out at a temperature of 48-50C (one of these formations looks like a large white boulder and rises right above the water, which is why it is known as the “White Whale”). You can bathe in the warm waters that form natural pools just below the limestone formations. They are among the hottest waters in this area, and many people prefer San Filippo Baths for bathing even when it is not summer.

San Filippo Baths
Bagni San Fili

2. Baths of Petriolo

If you follow the provincial road to Petriolo, a town near Monticiano in the province of Siena, located in the Merse Natural Park, you will find at some point the Petriolo thermal baths, also known as Baths of Petriolo, located in the Ombrone valley, near the ruins of Petriolo Castle, which stands right next to the spring. Large limestone pools allow bathing in both hot waters that flow year-round at a temperature of 40°C, those of the hot spring, and cold waters, those of the nearby Farma River. Petriolo’s waters are known for their beneficial properties for the respiratory system, since they are rich in hydrogen sulfide. They are among the busiest free spas in Tuscany: so to get a good spot it is best to avoid summer weekends, or go to the Bagni early in the morning.

Baths of Petriolo
Baths of Petriolo. Photo: Raymond Spekking

3. Cascata del Mulino waterfall in Saturnia

Cascata del Mulino, located along provincial road 10 from Montemerano to Saturnia, in the innermost part of the Maremma countryside, is one of the most famous and popular free spas in Tuscany, so those who want to indulge in a bath in its pools must calculate well the arrival time to find a good location, since especially on summer weekends the Cascata del Mulino, also accomplice to its proximity to one of the most famous thermal resorts in Italy, is taken by storm. They are among the most scenic because of the large limestone pools shaped by water flowing at a temperature of 37°C.

Waterfall of the Mill in Saturnia
Cascata del Mulino waterfall in Saturnia. Photo: Wikimedia/Qwesy

4. Parco dei Mulini in Bagno Vignoni

Bagno Vignoni, a beautiful village in the Val d’Orcia, a hamlet of San Quirico d’Orcia, is famous for its unique square, which has a large pool fed by a hot thermal water spring in the center. But it is also famous for its free hot springs, the Parco dei Mulini, where the thermal water has carved several pools in the rock where you can bathe. The waters gush out from several springs at 50°C but, due to the fact that they flow through natural channels for long stretches under the open sky, the perceived temperature is significantly lower (as a result, Bagno Vignoni is preferred by spa-goers especially in summer), and are indicated for the treatment of rheumatic and respiratory ailments.

Mills Park in Bagno Vignoni
Parco dei Mulini in Bagno Vignoni. Photo: Val d’Orcia Tourist Board

5. San Casciano Baths

San Casciano Terme is one of the most famous and popular spa resorts in Tuscany, and the beneficial properties of its waters have been known since Roman times. Very rich in hot springs, San Casciano also has free thermal pools: these are the very ones that were built by the ancient Romans, and here you can therefore have the unique experience of bathing exactly as a Roman did two thousand years ago. The free baths, with water with a temperature around 40°C, are located at the foot of the hill dominated by the medieval part of San Casciano: they are those of the “Bagno Grande,” also known as “i vasconi.” This is a fountain composed of three pools, only one of which is however accessible, and it is accessed through a path that descends from the parking lots located at the foot of the hill on which the village of San Casciano stands.

Bagni di San Casciano. Photo: Consorzio San Casciano dei Bagni Terre e Terme
Bagni di San Casciano. Photo: San Casciano dei Bagni Terre e Terme Consortium

6. The thermal baths of Sasso Pisano

Sasso Pisano has been known since the Etruscans for its waters, so much so that near the village are the remains of a large spa complex, the “Bagnone,” the only site of its kind in the lands of the Etruscans (today a visitable archaeological site). And even today there are places where it is possible to bathe for free: the free thermal baths of Sasso Pisano are decidedly less well known than those in the localities mentioned so far, partly because they are located in a less touristy area of the Val d’Orcia (Sasso Pisano is a hamlet of Castelnuovo Val di Cecina), but they are nonetheless noteworthy. There are in fact two small natural pools near Bagnone, while another place to bathe are the ancient wash houses near the cemetery, where water gushes out at a temperature of 36°C.

The thermal baths of Sasso Pisano
The thermal baths of Sasso Pisano. Photo: Municipal Tourist Offices of Castelnuovo Val di Cecina and Sasso Pisano

7. Baths of St. Michael to the Ants

The Baths of St. Michael to the Ants (Baths of San Michele alle Formiche) are located along State Road 449, in the stretch from Larderello to Pomarance, an area famous for the presence of boraciferous soffions and the exploitation of geothermal energy. Near the hermitage of San Michele there is a spa that was already in use in the Middle Ages: the sulfurous waters, which have a temperature of about 25°C (and are therefore quite cold), arrive in a pool that belonged to a spa establishment that is now disused, as it was abandoned as early as the early 20th century. Legend has it that the waters began to gush out in ancient times after the bell of St. Michael’s Abbey fell, banging violently on the ground.

Baths of St. Michael to the Ants
Baths of San Michele alle Formiche. Photo: FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano

8. Thermal Sketches of Equi

In Lunigiana, the thermal waters of Equi are famous: in addition to the popular paid spa establishment, it is possible to bathe in the “bozzetti” (“bozzo,” with a sweet “z,” in local dialect is equivalent to “puddle”) located along the Catenelle stream, just a few minutes’ walk from the village of Equi. The bozzetti are frequented mainly by local residents, and those who want to bathe should be aware that the waters are not very hot, since they gush out at a temperature of around 25°C-27°C: excellent therefore in summer, while trying them in other seasons (some do) requires a good dose of recklessness.

Thermal Sketches of Equi. Photo: Lunigianesi Tourist Operators Association
Equi Thermal Sketches. Photo: Lunigianesi Tourist Operators Association

Free spas in Tuscany: 8 sites where you can bathe for free
Free spas in Tuscany: 8 sites where you can bathe for free

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.