Free natural hot springs in Tuscany - Italy road trip | Nest Campers

Free natural hot springs in Tuscany - Italy road trip

Hot pools in Tuscany, Italy road trip
01. October 2019

With summer coming to an end and days getting “shorter”, one might think that there's not much left to do on a road trip, however that couldn't be more wrong. Here at Nest Campers excitements and opportunities never stop! In this article, we are going to list some of the best spots in Tuscany and surroundings where you can bath yourself for free in natural hot springs

 

September and October (along with March, April, and May) are indeed some of the best months to take one of our campervans out for a comfy road-trip.

Generally, temperatures are still very enjoyable and nights are cooler than during summer. Most of the crowds will be gone, there will be less traffic on the roads and more time left to spend visiting your favorite attractions. It will be easier to explore that place on your bucket list or it will be just pure fun discovering new little gems like the ones suggested in many of our Nest Campers blogposts.

Italy road trip campervan, rent a campervan Italy
No road trip to Tuscany is complete without a visit to one of the natural hot pools.

 

In some places, it will still be possible to have a swim in the sea, but the water temperature, for some, could already be too cold to jump in. There are other places, instead, where water rises from underground springs, at warm-to-hot temperature, right into natural pools.

Sitting onto an area of fervent geothermal activity, Italy has a whole display of top quality water hot pools, ranging from luxury wellness and beauty centers to more affordable community hot pools and, last but not least, free natural hot springs.

Well covering Italy from north to south, thermal tourism has basically never gotten old in Italy. A region so full of natural and human wonders such as Tuscany leads the group of areas offering the largest choice of both paid and free to public natural hot pools, easily doable on a road trip with a campervan.


 

In this article, we are going to list some of the best spots in Tuscany and surroundings where you can bath yourself for free in a natural environment where hot water, relaxation, and wellness will be the only things to care about.

All the places are located at reasonable distances (no more than 1,5 hrs between each other) and make it a perfect itinerary for a few days camper getaways.  Whether you want to disconnect from your daily routine or just take some time to relax and enjoy nature, art, and culture, you can't miss the tips contained in this article, where you'll find heaps of useful information about where to go and what to do when visiting Tuscany's Free Natural Hot Pools.
 

1.Cascate del Mulino, Saturnia (Grosseto)

The Mill's Waterfalls, named after the watermill on top of the hot pools, are probably one of the most beautiful and popular spots in Italy for thermal tourism. Saturnia's hot springs have become quite crowded spot during summer and weekends in general and their popularity keeps growing also because they are (still) free!

If too many crowds doesn't sound like relaxation to you, don't worry because shoulder months (Autumn and Spring) are the best ones for a visit. Sure, it might be hard to have all the place for yourself, but the natural context is idyllic and there are plenty of choices about where to soak yourself into.

Laying on the remainings of a volcanic crater, the water flows at 37.5° from a stream, descending gently next to the watermill into natural pools, which differentiate each other in terms of size and water temperature, as the cooler water at the bottom mixes with the hot, sulfur one, at the top. Conveniently located about 40 minutes east of Grosseto in the south of Tuscany, these are a great starting point for hot pools road trip.

Where to stay:

With your campervan, you can be lucky enough to find some parking space right on top of the hill that face the pools (read our post regarding where to camp in Italy and what you need to know), otherwise just drive the short ride to the “Alveare Dei Pinzi”, a Camper Area, offering all the comforts of a caravan park at a reasonable price, including a free hot pools shuttle bus (please check with their reception for any changes or updates about the service).

Tuscany hot pools, Italy road trip nest campers
Cascate del Mulino are amazing thermal spas in Saturnia, Italy.
 

 

2.Bagni di Petriolo, Siena

Petriolo's Hot Pools are another beautifully secluded yet well connected spot for hot springs lovers. Major town such as Siena (30 mins drive) and Grosseto (45mins) are linked by a free highway that makes these place easy to reach. The Romans used to relax here centuries ago, Popes and Emperors have been bathing here back in the days.

Nowadays, tourists enjoy the Thermal Spa (with entrance ticket) on the main road and the free, natural hot pools just next to it. The sulfur waters coming from the underground reaches the various pools dotted along the Farma river bank. Let the warm water (and cool air) embrace your body and enjoy all the benefits nature can offer. Located inside a natural reserve, the Petriolo's hot pools offer plenty of options for some walking and outdoor activities too.
 

Where to stay:

Parking and sleeping is generally allowed on the roadsides, otherwise caravan parks or Agricampings (farms that offer you facilities for your campervan for a small fee or some shopping in their local produce grocery store) are available in the surrounding areas. 

During the years this place has been chosen by various hippies and freaks who have stayed for longer periods of time, giving to this place a positive and curious vibe.

Tuscany hot pools, campervan road trip Italy
The thermal springs of Bagni di Petriolo gush at a temperature of 43°C along a stretch of the Farma river. 

 

3.Bagni di San Filippo, Siena

Along the SR2 (also known as the Via Cassia, a very important Roman road connecting Rome with Florence) the San Filippo's Hot Pools are certainly a must-see when visiting the best free natural hot pools that Tuscany and Italy have to offer.

Half way between Siena and Viterbo, this little gem will leave you speachless. Follow the main road, skip the paying Thermal Spa and walk the short trail through the trees towards the so called “White Stream”, where different hot springs converge and where nature has played some wonderful tricks. Mixing with the cooler water of the stream, they have created pools with different temperature and shape.

In some cases, calcium carbonate concretions have carved formations which sight is hard to believe. The most photograped is certainly the Balena Bianca (White Whale), a big, white structure formed by the calcium deposits over the years.

The location, in the middle of the bush, gives to this place that enchanting touch that only fairy tales can provide.  Besides that, it is less popular than the natural hot pools mentioned above, therefore visiting this place at these times of the year, will certainly help you forget what the word stress means.

Where to stay:

As long as parking laws and enviroment are always respected, you can park and stay along the roads nearby, pretty much wherever you like as overnight parking is generally tolerated out of peak season. If you don't feel comfortable doing so or need a place to do Camper Service, there are various options in the surrounding areas, varying from free Community Camper Areas to more serviced -and differently priced- caravan parks. The app Park4night has all the info needed to spend a few nights in this little slice of paradise.

Bagni di Filippo, thermal spa Tuscany, road trip Italy
Bagni di San Filippino can easily become the best Italy experience you'll have on your road trip, believe us.

 

4. I Vasconi, San Casciano dei Bagni, Siena

Literally translated into the “big baths”, these pools have been well known since the Etruscan age for the therapeutic benefits provided by the numerous (more than 40) springs present in the area. Lying at the bottom of a hilltop medieval Tuscan-style village, the pools were used as washing basins too. Nowadays they turned into a relaxing, free and accessible spot, perfect for a road trip with a campervan during the Autumn and Springs months.

The tiny village itself, San Casciano dei Bagni, is highly regarded as one of the best villages in the whole province and worth a visit indeed! With these surroundings, it is easy to get acquainted and pleased by this location where, after your free daily hot bath, good food and wine will be just the topping of a perfect day.

Ending up spending more than a few days around here is a common pleasant risk! When arriving in San Casciano dei Bagni, follow the directions to the carpark at the bottom of a steep but sealed road, From there, an unsealed road will lead you to the pools. Only residents can enter with their cars, so make sure you leave your vehicle at the carpark and avoid fines. There are more carparks available around the village and the walk is relatively short and easy.

San Casciano is also famous for its spa & wellness center, an high class thermal resort, in case you wanna add a beauty treatment or a special massage to your experience. It is not free and information can be obtained through their website at www.fonteverdespa.com .

Where to stay:

Other than the mentioned carparks, available in and around San Casciano dei Bagni, there are a variety of solutions in the proximity of the village. For example, free camper areas have been provided by some Municipalities in the province and their locations are visible on most common apps such as Park4Night and Caramaps. There is also a caravan park in Sarteano, a village near San Casciano dei Bagni, offering great facilities for campervans. 

Italy road trip campervan

 

5. Terme del Bullicame, Viterbo

Well, true, these hot springs are not exactly in Tuscany, but it's only a short drive south past Lake Bolsena and next to the beautiful town of Viterbo to reach them. Thanks to amazing villages all around, nestled in stunning landscapes, these hot pools deserve a special mention. But there is another reason that makes this place so popular. The “Bullicame Hot Pools”, in fact, have been mentioned by none other than Dante Alighieri in its worldwide famous Divine Comedy.

Bullicame, which can be translated as gurgling, is referred to the bubbly, muddy, hot water coming out from springs located in the hills nearby.

The pools were described in Dante's Hell part of the poem, as its sulphurous fumes and hot waters were donating this little hill a mystical yet “infernal” aurea. The area is today part of a public garden mantained by the Town of Viterbo. The natural pool at the center of the garden, the one Dante writes about, is not accessible to the public anymore, and it's glass fenced all around. A plate with Dante's referrals to Bullicame is standing proudly next to this pool, to preserve and remember what was a really important site for the area.

Tourists, thou, won't be disappointed as there are two more manmade pools in the garden, sourcing water directly from the Bullicame. Access is free and the view towards Viterbo are exceptionals.

From the same dantesque main pool, a more serviced (and consequently priced) thermal spa and wellness center, draws the water necessaire to operate. Unfortunately, this has reduced the water flow rate in the remaining two pools and in the whole area, making them lukewarm rather than hot.

More pools are found in Bagnaccio, a short drive from Bullicame. They used to be free. Now, an association has taken over and is maintaining them, putting on a cheap entry fee and some facilities.

Where to stay:

Park your campervan right at the entrance while you stay at the pools. For overnight stays, there are carparks in and out of beautiful Viterbo (2 km from the pools) if you don't need any service to your campervan. If you want something more comfortable, AgriCamping Paliano is a nice place to stop by, offering reasonable prices and good services. More caravan parks and camper service are found around Viterbo, with villages like Civita di Bagnoregio, Bomarzo and the Lake Bolsena area which are definitely worth a visit.

 

Italy road trip, campervan road trip, italy hot pools

 

 

Off the List...but we couldn't resist!

We tried to pick our best choices to design an unforgettable holiday for you, filled with relaxation, culture, nature and amazing food and wine. The to-see list could be certainly expanded with more pools and activities worth a go.

If you feel like you want more, just scroll down to find some really interesting places that could be added to your itinerary, keeping it as more camper-friendly as possible:
 

Hot Pools 

Free natural hot pools can be found also in Bagno Vignoni (at the bottom of the little village). On the way to Bagni di San Filippo, this could be a nice and warm add on to your campervan trip.
 

Villages

The center of Italy is thankfully filled with enchanting medieval villages. Worth a visit are definitely Pienza (don't miss their Pecorino, a sheep cheese), Pitigliano and Sorano (and their tuff buildings) and Civita di Bagnoregio, close to Viterbo, laying on the top of a hill with spectacular 360° views of the countryside.

 

Activities

The Bomarzo Monster Park, in Bomarzo, near Viterbo. A mystical experience in a forest hosting sometimes weird and sometimes gloomy sculptures. A one of a kind park for sure!

Something to take advantage of, when travelling this area, is absolutely wine tasting. Places like Montalcino, Montepulciano, Scansano in Siena and Grosseto provinces await tourists eager to have a sip of their best wines. At Montefiascone, near Lake Bolsena, a vineyard will let you stay overnight for free (camper service and electricity included) as long as you buy a bottle (or 2) from its shop.

 

Now that we have showed all these options, it's time for you to enjoy them. Check our offers on www.nestcampers.com, book your Cuckoo or Stork campervan that best suits your needs and discover this beautiful part of the world, at your own pace, with all the needed comforts.

 

'Cause Summer might go on holiday but......WE DON'T! See you the road!

Written by: 

Alessio Pacciardi

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