The Saturnia hot springs in Italy are a truly remarkable natural wonder in Tuscany. The famous waterfalls are a popular site for tourists and locals alike throughout the year. If you are planning to visit these one-of-a-kind hot springs, I have the perfect guide for you.
The first time I saw a picture of the Saturnia hot springs, I was mesmerized by the cascading pools of powder blue water. It looked like a dream. I knew immediately that this was a location that I wanted to add to our Tuscany road trip.
We made some rookie tourist mistakes on our visit, which I am embarrassed to even admit. Hint, I went to the hot springs in a bathrobe. More about those details later.
However, you can learn from my mistakes with this ultimate guide to the Saturnia hot springs in Italy. Including many helpful tips like what to bring to the hot springs, the best time of year to visit, where to stay, and so much more!
🌎 ✈️ Planning a trip soon? Check out my favorite resources below!
Saturnia Hot Springs Italy
Saturnia Hot Springs is a set of sulfurous thermal springs located in the hills of southern Tuscany in the small town of Manciano, just outside of Saturnia. The rich minerals from the thermal waters have been known for their healing effects and enchanting pools of water for more than 3000 years.
Legend has it that the collection of hot springs at Terme di Saturnia was formed by lightning bolts thrown during a heated argument between the two Greek Gods, Saturn and Jupiter. Jupiter (the Roman god of thunder) threw a lightning bolt, and instead of hitting Saturn, the bolt struck Saturnia creating a split in the earth and the formation of the sulfurous hot springs.
The Saturnia thermal springs in Italy are a little off the beaten path but have increasingly become one of the most popular hot springs in Tuscany. I hope this guide will help you experience these unique and desired hot springs for yourself.
Don’t Make These 11 Mistakes When Visiting the Saturnia Hot Springs in Italy
1. Thinking the Hot Springs are Hot
I have been to various hot springs in California and even the iconic Blue Lagoon in Iceland. So I was expecting the Saturnia hot springs in Italy to be a similar experience. Not exactly.
The huge limestone pools of thermal waters are heated naturally by a nearby volcano and remain at a constant temperature of 37.5° C all year round.
It is a pleasant temperature, similar to bath water, but not by any means is it hot. Especially, if you are visiting during a colder month, like when we did. I felt like I needed to submerge my entire body to keep warm.
With that said, the hot springs are still an enjoyable and relaxing experience. If you can get close to the cascading waterfalls, the gushing water can even provide a nice upper body and shoulder massage.
2. The Difference Between The Spa & Resort Vs. Saturnia Hot Springs
When I was planning our visit to the Saturnia hot springs in Italy, knowing the difference between the resort and the free hot springs initially confused me. I thought the springs were part of the resort that is located nearby, which they are not.
Terme di Saturnia is a group of springs, and the Cascate del Mulino is one of them. Terme di Saturnia is also the name of the nearby resort and spa. The resort features spring pools of the same mineral-rich and sulfurous water that you will find at the Cascate del Mulino.
The main difference is that the spa and wellness center at Terme di Saturnia offers numerous luxury treatments you can book for a relaxing spa day. The Saturnia hot springs at Cascate del Mulino are totally free to soak. And they are located at two different locations.
3. Putting the Wrong Location in Your GPS
The last thing you want to do is put the wrong location in your GPS and be turned around in the countryside. The Saturnia hot springs go by various names. You may hear them referred to as Terme di Saturnia, Cascate del Mulino, or Cascate del Gorello.
This can cause some confusion when you are trying to put the location in your maps for directions. And the service in the Tuscany countryside near Saturnia is not the best, so you will want to put the correct address in the first time.
Instead of putting “Terme di Saturnia” or “Saturnia Hot Springs” into your GPS, enter Cascate del Mulino instead. This will take you to the hot springs instead of mistakenly to the hotel or into town.
The exact address for the springs is: Cascate del Mulino, Strada Vicinale Molino del Bagno 9/a, 58014 Saturnia GR, Italy
4. Not Wearing Water Shoes
Something we found very helpful on our visit to the Saturnia waterfalls was bringing water shoes to help you get around easier. I brought this pair with me. They are lightweight, fold up easily in your suitcase, and are a good price.
The water shoes were great to have because the floor of the hot springs is pretty rocky and slippery. I also found them helpful to walk around the various pools on the different levels because some of the rock formations were a little steep.
4. Wearing Jewelry in the Hot Springs
Before hopping into the Saturnia thermal baths, you will want to remove all of your jewelry. With the high sulfur content in the pools, your jewelry, especially silver, will quickly tarnish.
Currently, the area where the lockers are is being renovated, so most people leave their belongings beside the springs with everybody else’s. Your best bet would be to leave any jewelry safely hidden in your car.
5. Not Being Prepared With a Waterproof Camera
Most likely one of the main reasons why you are visiting the Saturnia hot springs in Tuscany is to capture this picturesque landscape. If you do not have a drone or a GoPro, you can still take incredible photos of the magical hot springs.
What I did, was I brought a waterproof case for my phone. This made me feel a lot more secure about bringing my phone with me as I walked into the springs.
I did not have to worry about dropping it or getting the phone wet from the steam of the hot springs. Also, I felt like it took pretty decent photos and videos. And it costs way less than a drone or GoPro.
6. Parking is Off Site & A Walk to the Hot Springs
Visiting the hot springs in Saturnia, Italy, may be free, but parking is not. There is a free parking area, but at the time of this post, it is closed due to renovations.
Instead, you need to park in the paid parking lot about 400m or 0.25 mile from the entrance of the springs. If you are visiting in the winter, dress in layers for the chilly walk to Cascate del Mulino.
Many people park on the road for free, but I do not recommend doing this because you could be ticketed. Definitely not worth it. To be safe, I would just pay the 2 or so euros and park in the parking lot.
7. The Saturnia Hot Springs Red Worms
Yes, the Saturnia hot springs have red worms you are most likely going to encounter during your soak in the thermal baths. But honestly, they sound so much worse than they actually are.
The little red worms (just a couple of millimeters long) are harmless and nothing to worry about. However, it is good to know that they exist and are totally normal to see in the waterfalls.
You will want to shower and wash your bathing suit out right after the hot springs because there were some red worms in our suits.
8. It’s Not Quite What You See on Instagram
The hot water pools of saturnia in Tuscany, Italy, that you see all over social media aren’t exactly what you are going to get in person. You may hear of it referred to as a “secret and off-the-beaten-path location.”
It is certainly an off-the-beaten-path location. The city of Rome is a 2.5-hour drive away, but Saturnia waterfalls are not much of a secret. At least not anymore.
Almost any time of the day you visit the hot springs of Saturnia, Italy, you will experience sharing the pools with other people. It is an extremely popular destination, especially during the high season and on the weekends.
So if you want fewer crowds, visit at sunrise or at sunset. Or pick a day during the week to go instead of a weekend.
9. Wearing the Appropriate Attire & Bringing More Than You Need
The biggest goof we had was not wearing the appropriate attire to the hot springs. We did not realize that the parking lot was a decent walk from the entrance of the hot springs, and we wore bath robes and flip-flops.
Yes, our crew walked down the streets of Tuscany in fluffy white robes on a very chilly mid-October morning. Luckily we got there pretty early on an off-season morning, so not many people witnessed our fashionable attire.
The changing rooms and bathrooms are currently closed due to renovations. I would wear your bathing suit to the hot springs, so you do not have to worry about finding a spot to change when you get there.
You may not want to wear your favorite swimsuit in the waterfalls. The smell of sulfur may stick around even after washing it.
Also, do your best to bring minimal items. Most people leave their belongings on the rocks next to the springs, and there is not a ton of space there. I would leave your valuables and the extra things you don’t need in the car.
10. Be Aware If You are Sensitive to Smells
Something I did not think about until we arrived in Saturnia, and that lovely egg smell filled the car. My sister’s husband immediately felt sick and was so turned off by the rotten egg smell that he did not come with us to the hot springs.
If you are one of those people who are sensitive to smells, here is your forewarning that the hot springs are full of natural minerals, one of which is sulfur. Sulfur causes that rotten egg smell to linger around the hot springs and surrounding area. You can smell it at the Terme di Saturnia Spa & Resort as well.
I felt like we barely noticed the smell after getting into the hot springs, but if that is something that turns you off, the Saturnia hot springs may not be worth visiting for you.
11. Expect to Spend All Day Visiting the Springs
The Saturnia waterfalls in Italy are not just a quick pit spot on a Tuscany road trip. They are actually pretty out of the way from other major cities like Florence and Rome.
We left for the hot springs from Lucca, and just to get close to the town of Saturnia, we had to drive along a winding road that took about an hour. It was a gorgeous drive through the countryside, but it took a long time.
If you want to do a day trip to the Saturnia hot springs in Tuscany, expect to spend most of your day traveling and at the springs. If you are not spending the night in accommodations nearby, this is something you should consider.
Is Saturnia Hot Springs Worth It
The hot springs are out of the way, most of the time they are crowded, and the temperature is just not as hot as you might have expected. You may be wondering to yourself is making the trip to Saturnia hot springs worth it?
All of this may be true, however, I do think that a visit to the Saturnia hot springs is worth it. The captivating cascade of powder blue geothermal pools tucked away in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, there is no place like it. The Saturnia hot springs are a natural gem and a must see location in Tuscany, Italy.
Where is Saturnia
Saturnia, the famous spa town, is tucked away in the countryside of Tuscany in north-central Italy. It is a very small town with a population of under 300 people. A visit can be done as a day trip from Rome, Lucca, San Gimignano, or Florence. Or a destination on your Tuscany road trip.
Saturnia Hot Springs Italy Map
How Do You Get to Saturnia Italy
The best way to get to Saturnia, Italy, would be by renting a car.
TIP: The ZTLs and speed cameras in Tuscany are very strict about speed limits. You might get a ticket and not even realize it until after your trip.
The springs are reachable by public transportation. However, it would be a very complicated and time-consuming journey. For reference, the closest train station to Saturnia is Albinia, which is at least a 45-minute drive from Cascade del Mulino.
However, if you do not plan on having a car with you in Tuscany, but still want to visit the hot springs, you could book a tour.
“This was the highlight of my trip to Italy! Salvatore went above and beyond in every way. He was very helpful with answering my abundance of questions, and very considerate to our needs. Very knowledgeable about not only the hot springs but also Italy as a whole!” -Tripadvisor Reviewer. (read more reviews)
✅ Book the Private Full-day Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs from Rome here
Is Saturnia Closer to Rome or Florence
If you plan on visiting both iconic destinations during your time in Itay, Saturnia is closer to the city of Rome. Saturnia is about 165 km from Rome and 185 km from Florence.
Florence to Saturnia Hot Springs
Florence to Saturnia hot springs is approximately 185 km and about a 3-hour drive. To reach the waterfalls from Florence, you will pass the town of Saturnia. Do not enter the town, but continue about 1 km. a gas station (it’s the only one) on the right.
Drive for a few hundred meters on the straight road, at the end of which you will find the hot springs.
⭐ If you are traveling from Florence, you can check out my guide Is there Uber in Florence for tips on how to get around the city and how to get to and from the Florence Airport.
Rome to Saturnia Hot Springs
Rome to Saturnia Hot Springs is approximately 165 km and about a 2.5-hour drive. If you are arriving from Rome, The Cascate del Mulino is located about 2 km before the town of Saturnia.
Where to Stay Near the Saturnia Hot Springs in Italy
There are plenty of incredible options for places to stay near the Saturnia hot springs in Italy. You can find an adorable B&B in the Maremma countryside to book or treat yourself to a luxury spa and resort. Here are my recommendations for places to stay near the Saturnia hot springs.
⭐ RATING: 9.7 out of 10 | BOOK
Located in the Maremma countryside, Poggio Degli Olivi, is a wonderful option for accommodations near the hot springs. The famous hot springs at Cascate del Mulino are only a 15-minute walk from the property.
Poggio Degli Olivi offers a variety of sizes of apartments, so this is a great option to stay in if you are traveling with a group of people. The gorgeous property features stunning views of Tuscany and offers amenities including a pool, hot tub, bicycles, bbq, and a small gym.
✅ Book your stay at the Poggio Degli Olivi here
⭐ RATING: 8.7 out of 9 | BOOK
If you really want to treat yourself during your stay in Saturnia, this is the place to book. Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort & Spa is a 5 star resort located nearby the public hot springs. This is where we stayed during our visit to Saturnia and the hot springs.
The Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort & Spa was a little pricey. However, it was one of the most unique hotels that I have ever stayed at. First off, the property is absolutely breathtaking. They have outdoor natural thermal pools, which I preferred soaking in over the public ones at Cascate del Mulino. It was very relaxing and they even had little noodles to help you float in the thermal pool.
All of the food and drinks were incredible during our stay. Get some R&R and book one of their treatments and massages at the luxury Terme di Saturnia’s wellness center.
✅ Book the Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort & Spa here
Visiting Cascate del Mulino from Terme di Saturnia Resoert
Tip If you are staying at the Terme di Saturnia Resort & Spa, it is best to drive to the hot springs.
We got bad advice and read that Cascate del Mulino is only a 5-minute walk from the resort. We tried walking, got turned around multiple and realized the springs were a lot farther than we had expected.
They are close by. However, there is a long and hilly entrance to the resort. And no sidewalks to the hot springs. The safest and quickest would be to just drive.
⭐ RATING: 9.2 out of 10 | BOOK
Another great option for a place to stay near the Saturnia hot springs is Agriturismo Le Cascatelle, a charming Tuscan farmhouse. It is in an excellent location to get to the thermal baths of Saturnia. Only about a 500-meter walk.
What makes Agriturismo Le Cascatelle different from the other two accommodations is that they produce their own olive oil and wine, which are available to sample and buy. Also, homemade cakes are served at breakfast each morning.
✅ Book the Agriturismo Le Cascatelle here
The Best Time to Visit Saturnia Hot Springs
The best time to visit the Saturnia hot springs in Italy would be during the off-season in either the spring or fall. During this time of year, it might still be a little bit chilly, but there will be fewer crowds than you will experience in the summer.
The months between June to August are Italy’s peak season for tourists. If you plan on visiting during this time of year, I suggest going to the hot springs early in the morning around sunrise or visiting later in the day at sunset. Also, if you can, try to avoid the weekend and come on a day midweek.
Besides avoiding the crowds in the summer, an early morning soak sounds way more desirable. The average high temperature is in the mid-’80s, not the most ideal weather for enjoying a hot spring.
Visiting Saturnia Hot Springs in Winter
You may be wondering if visiting Saturnia hot springs in the winter are worth it and a good idea. In the winter, the hot springs are open, and the temperature of the water remains at a comfortable 37.5 °C.
I would come prepared with warm clothes from the walk between the parking lot and the hot springs. Also, check the weather before you visit. Winter is Saturnia’s rainy season.
What to Bring to Saturnia Hot Springs
You don’t need to bring much to visit the Saturnia hot springs in Tuscany. However, the few things that should be on your packing list include:
A towel, bathing suit (probably not your favorite one), water shoes, sunscreen, camera or waterproof case, water to rehydrate, and some cash if you plan on grabbing a snack at the cafe or the pizza vending machine.
If you are not staying nearby, you may also want to bring a change of clothes as well.
Amenities, Bathrooms, & Showers at Cascate del Mulino
According to the Le Cascate di Saturnia website, the cafe is closed due to renovations and should reopen by the end of February 2023. Included in this new renovation will be bathrooms, lockers, showers, and picnic areas available to guests all day until 10 pm.
If you plan on visiting the Saturnia waterfalls before then, be prepared for all of these amenities to be closed. You can check here for an update on these renovations.
The Saturnia Hot Springs are Dog Friendly
What came to my surprise is that these hot springs are also dog friendly. So if you happen to be traveling with your pup, they are welcome to soak in the springs as well.
Full disclosure, I don’t know if it is safe for a dog to go into a hot spring. Personally, I wouldn’t allow my dogs to go in. I would be nervous that they would drink the water, but it is nice to know this location is also dog friendly.
Frequently Asked Questions: Saturnia Hot Springs
How Hot Are Saturnia Hot springs
The Saturnia hot springs remain at a consistently pleasant temperature of 37.5 °C throughout the year. I would not consider them hot, but they are warm and relaxing to soak in. Also, these thermal pools are known to offer healing and therapeutic benefits.
Is Saturnia Hot Springs Free
The best part about the Saturnia hot springs in Italy is that they are free to visit! And you can visit the springs any time you want. They are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
How Long Should you Spend at Saturnia Hot Springs
I would expect to spend an hour to an hour and a half at the Saturina Hot Springs. We stayed for about an hour, and I thought that was plenty of time to thoroughly enjoy the geothermal baths.
If you are planning on staying longer, you can pack a picnic, or there is a cafe that offers some snacks and a pizza vending machine. I can’t tell you how great a pizza is from a vending machine, but it’s an option!
In Conclusion: The Saturnia Hot Springs in Italy
The Saturnia hot springs in Italy are such a unique and magical destination to visit in Tuscany. Your visit to the thermal hot springs will be a wonderful way to relax, unplug, and enjoy the beauty of nature.
I hope you have enjoyed this guide and have found it helpful in planning your trip to the Saturnia hot springs in Tuscany, Italy!