The Complete Guide to the Amazing Saturnia Hot Springs in Italy

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The Complete Guide to the Amazing Saturnia Hot Springs in Italy

The beautiful Saturnia springs filled with swimmers. Come enjoy the Saturnia Italy natural jacuzzi at these springs located in Tuscany between Rome and Florence!

It began with a simple photo courtesy of Pinterest – a cascade of warm water pools and waterfalls with the rustic Tuscan hills in the background. We knew we had to visit the Saturnia hot springs in Italy, several hours south of Siena.

When we set out in our car from Siena, our goal was Saturnia, the mythical landscape we saw in the Internet photo. Saturnia hot springs have existed for millennia. According to Roman mythology, the hot water spring was created when the god Saturn sent a lightning bolt in an attempt to subdue warring humans.

Prior to the Roman civilization, the area around the hot springs was inhabited by Etruscans and others. The Saturnia springs just might possibly be the world’s first vacation destination.

There are no changing facilities at the Saturnia thermal springs, which makes for an interesting experience in the parking lot. But since it’s Europe, no one seems to pay much attention to the nudity. Like most of the Italian tourists, we changed our clothes in the dirt parking lot standing between the cars.

Wide angle view of the Saturnia hot springs complex. Called locally Saturnio Italia and sometimes mis-spelled Saturina Thermal Springs, this hot spring Tuscany style is an amazing place of beauty and relaxation.

The Saturnia thermal springs as seen from the main road

After changing into our bathing suits, we headed down near the falls and spread out our picnic by the banks of the small river. The wine, cheeses, breads, and cured meats we purchased near our hotel in Siena made a perfect picnic! Eating on the banks of the warm water stream is a fun way to soak up the atmosphere of Tuscany and commune with people from so many different countries.

After our quick lunch, we jumped into the Saturnia hot springs. Despite the heat of the summer, we weren’t bothered by the warm water. The hot springs come out of the earth at 37 °C (98.6 °F), so not what you’d call “hot.” Without water shoes, it was challenging to walk through the waterfalls and over the rough stones barefoot, but the picturesque setting and water made up for it.

We spent nearly two hours and were disappointed that we didn’t have more time to relax there. I love geothermal hot springs and we have visited many around the US and in other countries, from the baths of Budapest to the outdoor springs of Steamboat Springs, and even the Vulcano, Italy hot springs and mud baths. Certainly, the hot springs in Saturnia is one of the best!

Since we were self-driving Tuscany, the Terme Saturnia became a perfect half-way point between Siena and Rome. After a day soaking in the hot springs of Saturnia, the drive didn’t seem so bad.

Check prices on accommodations in Saturnia here.

Saturnia hot springs Italy photos:  The Hot Springs in Saturnia, Italy.  This is the Cascate del Mulino Saturnia Tuscany Italy, also known as the best natural hot springs in Italy.

Really doesn’t get better than this Tuscan bath

Visiting the Saturnia Hot Springs in Tuscany/Terme di Saturnia

According to Saturnia mythology, the springs here stem from when the god Saturn struck his lightning bolt into the ground. Evidently he was a poor aim.

You see, the Terme di Saturnia isn’t a single spring. It’s several springs throughout the region. This is why several of the luxury hotels as well as the Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort all have springs.

When talking about Saturnia, many of the names are used interchangeably. So, Terme di Saturnia is the hot springs spa at the luxury hotel, but is also the name of the springs in that famous picture. If we want to be accurate about it though, the natural hot springs waterfalls are called Cascate del Mulino or Cascate del Gorello. This is the free bathing area, which is where you want to be.

Where is Saturnia?

The town of Saturnia is located half way between Rome and Florence, and a little south of the town of Siena. It is also located due west of the town of Orvieto.

How to Get to Saturnia

If you’re wondering how to get to Saturnia hot springs from Florence (or Rome), you’re easiest option is to rent a car and drive yourself. (FYI: In Italy, we use this rental car price comparison website to find the best deals). The roads are good and well marked and we found ample parking at the hot springs. There’s really no reason not to drive yourself.

If your attempting to get to Saturnia by bus (or train), it’s a pretty complicated process. And it seems to change depending on who we talked to. The closest train station to Saturnia is Albinia on the coast. From there, you take a bus to Manciano (buses 41 or 11), where you change buses to Saturnia (bus 17). The bus trip takes about 2:15 and the buses run every 3-5 hours. Yes…only a handful of buses each day.

The trip from Florence to Saturnia is 6.5 hours by public transit and the trip from Rome to Saturnia is 2.75 hours by public transit. You are vastly better off renting a car.

GPS and Satellite Navigation

Finally, a word about GPS and satellite navigation in Saturnia. We found cell phone reception to be pretty poor in the little valley where the hot springs are located. Also, just putting the name “Saturnia” or “Terme di Saturnia” into a GPS is likely to take you to the luxury hotel (or into the town). We recommend using the actual GPS coordinates from the hot springs:
Latitude: 42.648; Longtitude: 11.513

That said, you won’t be able to miss seeing the thermal springs from the overlook on the main road (see photo below).

The Terme di Saturnia Tuscany Italy.  You pass this overlook on the SP10 main road while driving from Rome to Saturnia hot springs.  We absolutely loved the Saturnia thermal springs Italy.

Tips for Visiting the Saturnia Hot Springs

The hot springs of Saturnia are rustic. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your visit to the Tuscany hot springs of Cascate del Mulino/Cascate del Gorello.

Park in the parking lot

As you drive down the narrow lane called Via della Follonata, you may see some cars parked on the road. Resist the temptation to park here (we saw most of the cars had tickets on them). Instead, drive all the way to end of the road, and then make a right following the blue parking (parcheggi) sign. The lot is pretty good size and you should be able to find a spot.

The area feels safe and there is always someone coming or going. However, be smart and don’t leave valuables in plain sight.

Pack a picnic

Services at the hot springs are limited. There’s a small bar and a snackbar/kiosk (seasonal) to purchase items. Your best bet is to bring a picnic with you. We went to the grocery store before coming to the springs and had bread, meats, cheese and wine!

Bring water shoes

As previously mentioned, the ground is rather rocky and there’s lots of pebbles. Flip flops will offer only a modest amount of protection and won’t really help you in the water at all. We strongly encourage sturdy water shoes (see below).

Remove all jewelry

The Saturnia thermal baths have a high sulfur content. You should remove all jewelry, especially any jewelry containing sulfur. It is guaranteed to tarnish…badly. Remove all jewelry including rings, watches, earrings and necklaces and leave them in your car.

The strong sulfur and mineral content can also ruin expensive bathing suits, sunglasses, cell phones and anything else that gets too close. If you don’t want to risk having it ruined, don’t take it.

Moderate your expectations

The Saturnia hot springs are free, so it is helpful to think of them a bit like your public swimming pool. You’re likely to encounter kids splashing and playing, obnoxious tourists, people hogging the waterfall baths, and other inconsiderate behavior. Just roll with it.

If you really care about privacy and relaxing there are a few options. The hot springs are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Come early or come late for fewer people. The further you go downstream into the stream bed, you’ll encounter fewer people – and cooler water temperatures.

If you want an even more relaxing experience, you can enjoy the same thermal waters in a private spa environment at The Spa at Terme di Saturnia (part of the Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort located up SP10, the main road, in the direction of the town of Saturnia).

The mineral baths Tuscany Italy.  While there aren't any hot springs in Rome and there are closer hot springs near Florence Italy, these are the best!  This is the Saturnia hot springs.

What to Bring to the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs of Saturnia

Water shoes

These are mandatory gear to protect your feet. We didn’t have them on our trip and regretted it. In recent years, we’ve been using these water shoes for both men and women, and highly recommend them.

Flashlight

Since the Tuscany baths of Saturnia are open 24 hours a day, if you decide to come at night, you should bring a flashlight or headlamp.

Sunscreen

There’s one inescapable fact: Saturnia in Italy is south facing. That means you’ll have full sun exposure all day long. There is a minimal amount of shade at the site, so be sure to bring your best sunscreen. Given the natural facilities here, you should be using biodegrable sunscreen to protect the mineral deposits and the aquatic life in the steam below.

Water

It seems strange to bring water to what is essentially a water park, however, the sun and the hot water can be very dehydrating. You should bring lots of water with you.

View from one of the Saturnia Italy hotels.  This is actually at a Saturnia Agritourismo - a kind of working farm where you can rent rooms while you enjoy the Tuscany hot springs.

View from a local agritourismo

Hotels in Saturnia

When it comes to Saturnia accommodations, there’s the Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort, and then there’s everything else. But don’t be afraid to seek out some less obvious lodgings near the hot springs.

The Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort

The Terme di Saturnia Resort sits about 3 miles outside the town of Saturnia and is a short walk from the mineral baths of Cascate del Mulino. The hotel also has a private spa so you can enjoy your soak without mingling with the masses.

Relais Villa Acquaviva

If you like the idea of the Terme di Saturnia, but it’s a little expensive for your taste, consider the Relais Villa Acquaviva. Still considered a luxury property, but you’ll stay here for about half the price of the spa & golf resort. As a bonus, Relais Villa Acquaviva patrons get exclusive access to the The Spa at Terme di Saturnia.

The whole region around Saturnia is filled with B&Bs and agriturismos – essentially accommodations on working farms. We’ve stayed at a number of agriturismo accommodations in Tuscany and this is a great way to experience the country. Check prices on accommodations in Saturnia here.

Saturnia Italy photos:  Forget Rome hot springs and come take a dip in the Saturnia Hot Springs at Cascate del Mulino in Tuscany.

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What do you think about The Complete Guide to the Amazing Saturnia Hot Springs in Italy?

  1. Julie June 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    Hi Lance and Laura,
    Would you be able to tell me how to get here from Manarola – Cinque Terra? Is it best to drive or catch the train – I’ll be travelling en route to Naples.
    Ta,
    Julie

    • Lance Longwell June 27, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

      Saturnia is really out in the countryside. It’s not anywhere near a train. If it were us, we’d rent a car and drive. That could be a long day if planning on doing it in one day. Good luck!

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