This past week we had the opportunity to visit the incredible natural hot springs in the countryside of Italy that I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram with its beautiful blue water cascading over white rocks, creating a natural infinity pool effect. It is literally in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields with hay barrels, rolling hills and green vegetation, so very picturesque.
Is it as wonderful as Instagram and the photos make it seem? Yes and no.
There are 3 main ways to experience the hot springs and I will break each of them down for you in this blog post so you can decide what kind of experience you’d like to have during your trip.
Option #1: Cascate del Mulino – Completely FREE experience
The Saturnia hot springs are actually called “Cascate del Mulino” if you want to get really official with it. Saturnia is the town in Italy where they are located which has a population of about 280 people.
If you search “Cascate del Mulino” in Google Maps it will take you directly there. We are actually staying just outside of Florence and it took us pretty much exactly 2.5 hours to get there from here so we left around 7 AM to get there by 9:30 AM.
We went on a Tuesday, and I would highly suggest getting here early to get a spot and parking as this place has become popular and an increasing amount of people are coming to check it out. Visit during the week if you can, and early for a less crowded experience. By 10:30 AM there were probably already 50 people that had arrived and about 10 cars. Parking is Free!
I believe there is 1 bathroom but expect lines. Additionally, there are paid showers but also expect lines for these.
There is a food stand there where you can purchase food/drinks but I noticed a lot of people also pack picnics and sit by the river. There aren’t lockers or anywhere to put your belongings while you bath; we left our towels by the side and put all our valuables (including my jewelry which I didn’t want to tarnish from the hot spring waters) into my backpack and walked to the other side of the water where there are bamboo trees. We hung out near there and put my bag on the dry ground near where we would be in the falls. There weren’t many people doing that, so there was a lot of space and very convenient if you want to take photos while in the hot springs, just be careful to hold on to your phone tight!
I noticed some people had water shoes on but they aren't required. We didn’t use any and we got around fine, there were some slippery spots and rough rocks but nothing super unbearable.
**important information: there were a couple things we didn’t figure out until later but these are some things to consider when selecting the free experience:
1. There are thousands, maybe millions of these small little red worms in the water. Apparently they are harmless because I haven’t died yet, but it is really weird to think about and even weirder when you find them in your swimsuit after!! They can only live in that kind of environment but still something to know before you go. Be sure to rinse off after.
2. The water here is not directly out of the ground, this is not the source. The water you are bathing in here has come downhill from the hotel/spa above and is therefore secondhand water that other people have bathed in.
This brings me to the next experience that is a paid option…
The Terme di Saturnia Thermal Park – Paid Experience (23 Euro/Person)
For this price you get access to the beautiful Terme di Saturnia thermal park and pools. The best way I can describe it is a theme park for adults. With this option you get free wifi and parking during your stay.
There are additional charges for: food, sunbeds, robe and slippers, towels etc.
There are discounts for: coming later in the afternoon, young children, large groups and more (I will link their website at the bottom of this blog for more info).
Everyone here walks around in robes all day, it is amazing. I highly suggest you get the robe and slippers.
You also get “cleaner” water because there are far less people swimming in the source water which is one level higher. There are still worms in this water, although far less than the amount at the free location.
If you want to splurge for a day I highly suggest getting access to the source water, it really was worth every penny in my opinion. Details on that coming next...
The Terme di Saturnia Club Access – Paid Experience (65 Euro/Person)
The amazing source water! My favorite part from the whole experience. It is so crazy to swim in the water that is literally bubbling up out of the earth, how incredible! The best part? No worms in sight here. Also, this water is known to have healing properties and be incredibly good for your skin.
With this price, you get access to the “Club” area which are the white umbrellas and chairs, you get a dressing room and locker to put your belongings in (also have showers here), access to the sauna which is a lot of fun and relaxing, you get bathrobe/slippers/towels included, unlimited waters, WIFI and parking.
**important note: if you book any treatment at the spa, you get half off your admission to the club. I booked a facial here for my birthday and it was the most detailed facial, Lorita was so kind and the products were not harsh, I would highly recommend getting a treatment done here!
There is one more level higher for 115 Euros/person but honestly I feel like with the 65 Euro option you get access to everything necessary. I believe this more expensive option includes a drink by the source pool, valet parking, access to the gym and a more private location.
Everything from the food, to the drinks, the service, and the amenities were incredible here. It is definitely an experience you need to have sometime in your life to visit the Terme di Saturnia Hotel/Spa. We are already talking about visiting again before we leave Italy!
While the free option is amazing to visit for about an hour to see it in person and take photos, I personally would recommend the paid experience over the other for a more relaxing day.
For more information about the resort visit: https://www.termedisaturnia.it/
Hope you could find this review helpful! Have you ever been to a hot springs before? Let me know in the comments down below what your favorite one is :)