Things to do in Bagno Vignoni Tuscany – the spa town

There are many things to do in Bagno Vignoni when day-tripping to this tiny Tuscan town perched on a hill above the picturesque Val d’Orcia (part of a Natural Park and now a UNESCO World Heritage site).

This village is different from the other Tuscany hill towns: rather than a main square, in Bagno Vignoni there is a thermal pool 49 meters long and 29 wide. Water bubbles up a number of hot springs whose therapeutic quality has been renowned since antiquity.

Bagno Vignoni is one of Tuscany’s oldest tourist destinations. In fact the historic spa town has never been anything else than a tourist destination. The town was busy in the middle ages because it’s on the Via Francigena, the road connecting Canterbury and Rome (a pilgrimage route in antiquity). Today it’s slightly off the beaten path so all the more reason for visiting. There are more things to do in Bagno Vignoni than just seeing the thermal pool.

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There are many things to do in Bagno Vignoni when day-tripping to this tiny Tuscan town. is one of Tuscany's oldest tourist destinations. In fact the historic spa town has never been anything else than a tourist destination...

The name of this ancient village derives from Vignoni, already a famous castle in the 11th century. You can still see it’s traces dominating the hill over the village.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. The Swimming Pool.
The Roman swimming pool.

Many well known personalities have ‘taken the waters’ here through history, including Lorenzo de Medici, Pope Pius II, Saint Catherine of Siena, and Oscar Wilde.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Hot Spa Water.
‘Square of the springs’

Bagno Vignoni has been well known since Roman times for it’s mildly sulphurous waters that come bubbling up into the large rectangular pool that forms the town’s main square, Piazza delle Sorgenti (Square of the Springs).

After restoring medieval pilgrims, ailing popes and saints Bagno Vignoni keeps a dignified outlook towards it’s visitors and avoids plastic chairs or pizza takeaways for present day travellers. Instead this neat town has a collection of pretty restaurants and high quality boutiques. Elegant white umbrellas give shade from the Tuscan sun.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Spa Pool Surrounded By Restaurants.
The thermal pool is surrounded by restaurants and boutique shops.

This is a particularly elegant looking restaurant with a shaded porch overlooking the ‘square of the springs’.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Smart Restaurant.
Smart restaurant.

We were dressed a little casually and had got rather dusty from Driving Vintage Alpha Romeos Through Tuscany with the roofs down, so settled at a popular pizza restaurant (Pizzeria Trattoria) in their shaded garden.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Pizza.
Pizzeria Trattoria.

A porch-type bridge passes over the waters that flow from the bath. It heads towards the thermal spa ruins and hotel spas. It is then said to go on to feed a series of mills situated along the steep banks of the river (I’m not sure, however, if this part was in the past or present – I suspect past).

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Changing Rooms?
A room on the porch-type bridge.

It hasn’t been possible to swim in the town square’s medieval pool for decades. I wonder if the locals take the plunge at night…

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Hot Spring Pool.
You can no longer swim in the main square.

You can actually see the warm water bubbling up towards the end of the pool.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Hot Spring.
Hot spring water bubbling up.

The men and women baths were separated. I’m not sure who took this pool.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Roman Spa Pool.

There was an annual emptying of the bath every May when the Amerighi family ruled here during the 16th century. They were authorised to call upon the inhabitants of the Val d’Orcia to help with this task.

Around that time the waters and their curative properties inspired the Siennese scholar Lattanzio Tolomei to write Greek verses about water nymphs. Even today, nymphs of white mesh sit around the waters edge.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. A Spa Town.
Nymphs.

The Chapel of Saint Catherine (who visited the spa often) is a tiny unassuming church. It’s a peaceful place to sit for a while in the cool.

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Church.
Chapel of Saint Catherine.

The hot spring town today continues to embody the ideas of health and wellness. There is a shop run by one of the most famous herbalists in Italy – Hortus Mirabilis.

Eat at the Osteria del Leone (closed Mondays).

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Other Streets.
A good selection of restaurants and bars.

When we visited there was a small food festival going on. You can’t expect a big one when this souvenir shop (below) is about as touristy as it gets. There are under 40 inhabitants of the town!

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Boutique Craft Shops.
Boutique tourist shops!

One thing you mustn’t miss is the ruins of an 18th-century bathhouse on the edge of town – Parco dei Mulini.

Thermal water flows in the small stone cut waterways (about a foot wide). Today modern hikers sooth their feet just as centuries of tired travellers must have done before us, including Medieval pilgrims. It’s a great place to get to feel the warmth of the spring – it’s quite surprising how warm it is (about 52 degrees Celsius in the warm months!).

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Roman Spa Ruins.
Roman spa ruins: cut waterways.

The warm water flows through these open channels on its way to the River Orcia, but first the Romans used it for shower water…

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Roman Showers.
Roman showers.

The showers are warped with centuries of limestone deposits.

The water also once flowed into this very deep pool – like an ancient affinity pool!

Things To Do In Bagno Vignoni Tuscany. Deep Roman Swimming Pool.
Deep Roman bathing pool.

You and your family can enjoy the Bagno Vignoni spring waters today, for free, just below where this pool is situated in the valley. Don’t forget to bring a swim suite and towels. You can’t have a bath at the main square pool, but you go down here to the Parco dei Mulini and relax at a spring pool of naturally hot water without checking into a resort.

However, unlike Tuscany’s other wild hot springs, Bagno Vignoni’s natural pool down in the valley isn’t warm enough for soaking in the winter.

The final of my things to do in Bagno Vignoni as a day-tripper is, there’s a lovely walk connecting Bagno Vignoni with Vignoni Alto, where you can either turn back or hike on towards Castello di Ripa d’Orcia. The signed walk will then take you back to Bagno Vignoni (10km).

So, make sure you add this to your bucket list when visiting Tuscany!

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16 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Looks like just my sort of place . I adore this part of Italy and would love to discover more of the little terme villages and towns. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Reply
    1. Yes, it’s a little bizarre at first to see a hot pool in the centre of the main square! But it’s a beautiful and interesting place to visit. The water was really warm!! x

      Reply
  2. So very beautiful! How come you can’t swim in the main thermal pool any longer? The town looks delightful and I agree, I love that they have kept up the elegant destination atmosphere. The limestone deposits on the showers are so interesting. I have never heard of this place – thank you so much for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    Reply
    1. Hi Erin! I’m so pleased to have introduced you to a ‘new’ Tuscan town. It is off the radar of many travellers. I can imagine the ban on jumping in the spa is partly due to ‘health and safety’ and also because it has very elegant restaurants lining it’s edge. I’m glad actually because it would be distracting to have the place littered with beach towels x

      Reply

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