Saturnia is essentially known for its thermal baths, but the small village deserves to be known also for its ancient history and for the legends that revolve around its name.
One of these, to explain the town's name and the presence of the baths, wants Giove, Saturn's overbearing son who, eager to take the place of his father at the head of all the gods, decided to drive him out of the throne, hurling him from the sky. The elderly god, falling, ended up on Earth, which welcomed him opening a passage from which an almost miraculous spring would immediately spring: the baths.
Another wants the god Saturn, angered by the litigation of human beings always at war, threw lightning on the earth, creating a crater from which a warm water began to gush and the atmosphere was enveloped by vapors. From those mists, a renewed, wiser and more conscious humanity was reborn.
It stands on a plateau of travertine at an altitude of 294 meters. Inhabited since the Bronze Age, Saturnia is now considered one of the oldest cities in Italy.
Later the Etruscans and then the Romans settled in the 2nd century BC they built the still visible walls. It included three access gates, Porta di Fonte Buia, Porta Fiorentina and Porta Romana, still existing today and located at the crossing point of the Via Clodia (ancient Roman road called "via delle terme").
The archaeological museum houses about 600 artifacts and offers testimonies ranging from prehistory to the Roman age. Among the archaeological materials, many come from the main Etruscan centers of the Fiora and Albegna valleys while others were found in Saturnia. The museum is open from April to September.
The Terme di Saturnia
The Terme di Saturnia rise on a volcanic crater from where sulphurous water comes out at a temperature of 37.5 ° C, with a flow rate of about 500 l / s.
For over 3,000 years, in this special place where time stands still, water full of unique elements gushes out. It is sulphurea-carbonic-sulphate-bicarbonate-alkaline-earthy water. The beneficial properties of water are determined by the presence of hydrogen sulfide, minerals, carbon dioxide and a particular natural element, the Thermal Plankton.
(What is thermal plankton? Appeared about three million years ago, thermal plankton - a microflora of extreme sweetness - is born and lives in sulphurous mountain thermal springs, rich in mineral salts.)
The Terme di Saturnia have four outdoor pools, whirlpools and paths in the water, it is one of the largest swimming pools in the region and one of the most important for water properties.
The modern wellness center is totally focused on thermal water and the products derived from it, massages and regenerating treatments ..... not just for everyone!
The Cascate del Mulino (or del Gorello)
Fortunately, there are also free spas in Saturnia.
The water coming from the thermal plant feeds the "Gorello", the stream that after a 500 m path forms the Cascate del Mulino. The hot water (which has lost ½ degree here!) Precipitates in the natural pools, rounded by the force of the water over time, in some points with vigor in others with more gentleness. However, the result is a "state of grace"!
At the top of the waterfall is the sulphurous mud: use it as a beauty mask even if your tan will suffer a little.
Parking is free and there is a bar nearby.
We couldn't camp, but ... see some of you! The territory is still full of B & Bs: I would avoid the month of August!
The place is magical! Especially in winter when the rising steam creates a surreal atmosphere.
At night the waterfall becomes suggestive, illuminated only by the moon and the candles flames placed by bathers at the edge of the pools.
For correctness of information I must warn you that in the water you will also find small red animals that swim: do not worry, this site will tell you who they are: www.saturninochironomus.it
.... believe me, after the first time, you will come back here!