Saturnia Italy: all you need to know to plan a visit to Saturnia hot springs, among the most scenic free thermal springs in Tuscany.
The free hot springs of Saturnia, Tuscany, have been a popular winter destination for locals for decades.
However, it is only rather recently that this scenic location seems to have reached wordlwide notoriety, mostly thanks to stunning aerial shots that have showcased its immense beauty.
Indeed, the hot springs of Saturnia are lovely!
Born and raised in Rome, I have been a frequent visitor to these free hot springs well before they became famous.
Today I will share all you need to know to plan a visit to Cascate del Mulino, Saturnia, Italy, the most famous hot springs in Tuscany.
What is special about the hot springs of Saturnia, Italy
Saturnia is a small locality in the South of Tuscany, famous for its hot water springs and free scenic thermal baths.
Here, thermal warm water springs from the ground and cascades down the slope of a small hill creating pretty pools of translucent water with the delightful temperature of about 37C all year round (about body temperature).
The spring seems to have been known since ancient times.
Their name seem to come from no less than the Ancient Roman God Saturn (Saturn > Saturnia) who is said to have created the spring with a hit of his bolt!
Nowadays, the name Saturnia keeps memory of that story however, the name ‘Cascate del Mulino’ also adds a descriptive element to the location:
‘Cascate’ means waterfalls, to evoke the cascading of the waters down the slope
‘Del Mulino’ means of the mill, the small and picturesque construction at their top.
The thermal waters of Saturnia are said to have healing properties: they are sulfur rich and they are said to be good for respiratory ailments, muscular-scheletal aches, the skin and digestive system.
The best way to experience Saturnia is to start with a birds-eye view of the springs and then drive down to the access area.
This is what you will find.
Catching the view of Saturnia hot spring from above
Many people get a first glimpse of the Saturnia thermal baths from the road meandering down the hill towards them.
The road doesn’t pose particular driving difficulties however, it has some sharp curves and you should approach it with caution.
Be exceptionally vigilant if you want to stop at the scenic pullout above the springs: if you are driving downhill, this will be on the wrong side of the road and it is not safe to reach.
The best way to get there is to drive further down, safely turn the car and drive back up. It will be worth it!
Where to park for Saturnia hot Springs
The free hot springs of Saturnia are served by a large car park just before the access to the river.
From the main road, you need to follow the sings for ‘Cascate del Mulino’ (aka Cascatelle or Cascate del Gorello) and then turn off the main road once you reach the Terme di Saturnia Golf resort, which is just in front of the free springs.
After a short drive, you will find a large area where you can leave the car.
Please be advised that there is no security at the car park: do not leave valuables unattended.
Once you leave the car, the cascate are only a few meters down the road.
You approach them from the top, so to get in you will need to climb down.
This is not hard to do however, you need to pay attention especially if the area is crowded as the rocks are hard and slippery, therefore a potential hazard.
From the top, the cascate are in full view and truly quite lovely.
You can pick the height of your pool and perch yourself close to the top of the mountain of go all the way to the river below, often less crowded.
Need to know! Saturnia’s hot waters are rich in sulfur and minerals and can severely damage jewelry. Make sure you take off valuables as they can easily get tarnished! You may want to consider bringing a safe, waterproof pouch you can keep with you so you can keel your jewelry safe and with you at all times.
How long should you spend at Saturnia
Access to the springs is free so there is no time limit as such to your visit.
Usually, people stay up to a couple of hours or less in the hot season.
Are the Saturnia hot springs worth it
The Saturnia hot springs are worth a stop however, I do feel like warning about what to actually expect, especially if you are going after seeing the glossy aerial images of the area that make is look empty and ethereal.
Saturnia is just as it looks in the photo however, these are free baths which means they can get very very crowded and noisy.
This is not enough to ruin your visit however, do expect to be sharing the pools with others and not be able to take photos of the place empty and eerie unless you come very early in the morning (before 7am).
Are there changing rooms and facilities at Saturnia free thermal springs?
The free thermal springs have no facilities as such however, there is a small cafe open seasonally which has toilets and showers that can be used for a quick change of clothes.
Most people will however get changed in the car.
The best time to visit Saturnia hot springs
You can visit the Saturnia hot springs all year round however, autumn and spring are by far the most pleasant seasons.
In the summer, the area gets incredibly hot and the cascate are battered by the incessant sun, with very little to no sun protection.
This means that, while fun, you will not be able to escape the sun and will not find solace in the water since it will be at the very least at your body temperature!
In winter it can be very pleasant to be in the waters but you need to be prepared for the moment you get out of it.
The free hot springs are literally a stretch of river so you don’t have warm areas so get changed or shower before getting home.
If coming in winter, good towels and warming clothes for after your bath are paramount.
What to bring when visiting Saturnia hot springs
For a pleasant experience at Saturnia I recommend you bring:
Swimsuit: you can fully enter the water and sit in the little pools so a full bathing attire is best (only tipping your toes in here is a shame!)
Water shoes: the springs are along a rocky slope so while you won’t need water shoes, they will come a long way to help you move around safely. I consider these and essential if visiting with kids (see also below)
Sun hat and sun screen – if you can, I recommend you use an environmentally friendly one since it will go straight into this wonderful natural location
Water and food – bathing in Saturnia’s hot waters can get you warm and thirsty: make sure you bring with you drinking water as the cafe’ on site is not always open
Money – if you get here when the cafe is open, this is a nice place for a drink or snack
A flashlight – if visiting after dark at night, a flashlight to help you find your way is paramount
Hot springs of Saturnia with kids
Saturnia is very easy to enjoy with kids however, you may want to take into account the following:
The dirt and rocks can be very hard on their feet and pose a tripping hazard: bring water shoes or sandals to help them
The place is not easy for toddlers and pose serious hazard to them: do not let them trot ahead
Keep an eye on their temperature as, especially in summer, young kids can get very hot here very fast
Bring food and drink so yo don’t have to rely on the cafe, not always open
What to see near Saturnia thermal baths
Saturnia is close to many wonderful places including Pitigliano, one of Tuscany’s most beautiful villages and stunning Orvieto.
- Roma – about than 2 hours by car
- Pitigliano – less than 30 mins by car
- Orvieto – about 1.5 hours by car
- Orbetello and the Tuscan Coast – less than 1 hour by car
Other Tuscany hot springs worth visiting
- Bagno Vignoni, lovely thermal town with hot spring resorts
- Chianciano Terme, modern thermal town with several thermal baths and say spas
- San Casciano dei Bagni
- Bagni San Filippo
You can read how to include Saturnia thermal springs in your Tuscany itinerary here
I hope you enjoyed this travel tips for visiting Saturnia, Italy. Safe travel planning!
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