Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Thermal Water of Bagni di Lucca.



Bagni di Lucca is the spa town of Lucca.  Its waters are best described as Salus per Aquam, Waters for Health. This slightly forgotten corner of Tuscany is steeped in history due to the amazing therapeutic powers of its waters. The rivers and streams in the area are fed by sulfuric-bicarbonate-calcium rich waters. The source of the thermal waters is 19 different springs. The temperature from the main spring Doccione can reach up to 54 C/130 F.


The water’s thermal qualities are anti-inflammatory and work as a muscle relaxant.  There are also gynecological treatments and the vapour is used for nasal problems.
The spa is certainly decadent rather than swanky and is a strange mix of a turn of a century hospital and an elegant renaissance buildings with natural caves. There are several different establishments dotted around the town. However, the grottos are unique.

 


There is evidence that these waters have been used for medicinal purposes since the first century BC. One can imagine the Roman legionnaires letting their post-battle campaign pains drift away in the steamy grottos. The Medieval rulers also enjoyed the curative waters including Tuscany’s Matilde di  Canossa and Frederic ll. 


The Renaissance sees this little town begin to develop as the waters become famous throughout Europe. It attracted Royalty, namely Elisa sister to Napoleon and ruler of Lucca had her summer palace here, and also writers and politicians including Montaigne.  In the 18th and 19th Century Bagni di Lucca became a true resort and culture centre. The casino was the hub of intellectual and literary discussion. The romantic English poets were also here. Byron and Shelley not only lived their own romantic stories but wrote their poetry. The Brownings acted out their real life love affair in Bagni during the long hot summers. During the Belle Époque, the popularity of Bagni continued to grow. Puccini was a frequent visitor to the spa and sections of his operas were composed in the town. This was a spa resort in full bloom.  Beautiful villas and gardens were built or altered and Bagni di  Lucca was enjoyed not only as a spa but cultural melting pot and refuge from the Summer heat of Florence.



The main spa itself is certainly rather run down. The remarkable part of the main structure is the natural caves and the fact that they have remained largely unchanged since Roman times. The Jean Varraud Terme or Spa is also a medical spa and patients can receive treatments under the health service. There is a small hotel as part of the complex, but it is certainly not a five-star number. It has a small thermal swimming pool. I find its shabbiness part of the attraction and gives a feel of the rich history of the place. The establishment is slowly being done up as money allows but I just hope the sense of antiquity isn’t lost.





If you are looking for alternative treatments or just a bit of pampering there are private establishments that have rented some of the thermal premises but for me, the magic is in the grottos. How cool is it to be cured in a Roman grotto? 

Contacts for Bagni di Lucca Terme. ( this is the main establishment)
Piazza San Martino,11
55021 Bagni di Lucca Lu
Tel: 0039 0583 8722
• Terme Bagni di Lucca
  Piazza San Martino, 11 - 55021
  Bagni di Lucca - LU
 
  Telefono: +39 0583 87221
  Fax: +39 0583 808224
• Terme Bagni di Lucca
  Piazza San Martino, 11 - 55021
  Bagni di Lucca - LU
 
  Telefono: +39 0583 87221
  Fax: +39 0583 808224
• Terme Bagni di Lucca
  Piazza San Martino, 11 - 55021
  Bagni di Lucca - LU
 
  Telefono: +39 0583 87221
  Fax: +39 0583 808224
 
• Terme Bagni di Lucca
  Piazza San Martino, 11 - 55021
  Bagni di Lucca - LU
 
  Telefono: +39 0583 87221
  Fax: +39 0583 808224
 



1 comment:

  1. Mai andata alle terme, ma conosco il posto :) ciao, Arianna

    ReplyDelete