As I lay under the Italian sun, I absorbed Vitamin D like a thirsty sponge and gazed peacefully at the sparkling blue pool and rolling green hills before me.
It was a vacation of indulgence and relaxation. My friends and I were on a spa vacation to Italy. Our goal was to visit the spas of Lazio.
Lazio, one of the 20 regions of Italy, is located on central Italy’s west coast.
Rome is the most well-known city in Lazio, with an estimated 10,000,000 tourists visiting each year to see the Vatican and Sistine Chapels, Coliseum, Coliseum, Coliseum, Spanish Steps, St. Peter’s Basilicas, Trevi Fountain, and many other attractions.
However, my trip didn’t include Rome’s historical attractions.
Thermal Spas at Lazio
I was curious to find out what Lazio had to do with its Roman star power, specifically its thermal spas.
Spas in Italy, unlike traditional spas in North America, offer many services and are prescribed by a doctor.
While I was expecting steamy saunas or bubbling hot tubs I didn’t expect to be able to relax in a doctor’s office and have my blood pressure monitored and dictated how long I should spend in the sweating grotto.
It was hundreds of years ago that I discovered the medical history of Italian spas. It is more than just a place to relax.
After the defeat, the Roman troops went to the thermal springs to cleanse their bodies. They would soak up the healing properties for over a month to cleanse their bodies and quarantine any possible illnesses they had contracted during battle.
Michelangelo was looking for relief from kidney stones and sketched the Italian thermal waters during his stay.
Dante made reference to springs in his works and discussed them along with the lower rings of hell. This made it difficult for people to jump into “hellacious” bubbling hot springs, and they declined in popularity over the years.
For its healing properties, sulfuric spring water is revered. They can do almost everything, according to the referenced information.
According to local legend, thermal springs are good for circulation, mucus regulation, and psoriasis. They can also help with arthritis, psoriasis, and detoxification. Thermal springs are also known to soothe sore muscles and relieve aching joints.
I was shocked at the medicinal benefits, to be honest.
I expected only pleasure and relaxation. I didn’t know that an Italian “dottore”, dressed in a white lab coat, would be evaluating my medical fitness.
This is the Italian way. Thousands of people visit the spas to relieve their ailments. Prescribed healing treatments are prescribed by doctors and expire in two weeks.
Not all treatments need to be prescribed by a doctor.
You are welcome to swim in thermal and swimming pools, as well as try hydromassage, which can be done in large waterfalls, large faucets, or jets. You can also enjoy massage, mud therapy, and aromatherapy as well as yoga and beauty treatments to enhance your spa experience.
Chromotherapy is a great alternative to traditional medicine. You will feel relaxed and rejuvenated as you relax in warm spring waters. The walls are decorated with lights and colorful tiles that aim to heal your body and mind.
These are just a few of the Italian spas that we tried:
Terme di Stigliano in Canale Monterano
Assessment: This romantic getaway has everything you need to have a night of bliss.
The spa is located in a hotel, but it’s surrounded by the countryside. The grounds are large and lush, with plenty of plant life and beautiful scenery.
The hotel is located on a single road. There are vast fields surrounding it. Terme di Stigliano is a non-optional one-stop-shop. Two large thermal pools are available, as well as two smaller ones to tempt you.
The steam cave, 25 feet underground, was my favorite part of the spa. I was given 10 minutes of blissful relaxation after my blood pressure was checked.
As I climbed the steps, I saw the walls surrounding me change from sterile white to hot, dark, and craggy. It feels like you are touching the earth’s bowels once you get in.
It is hot but manageable. There is heat comparable to a Bikram class, and heavy, humid air rising from the hot springs.
The bridge was accessed by dim lights. It crossed bubbling springs and offered a view of the main entrance.
Terme dei Papi in Viterbo
Assessment: Enjoy a relaxing day in the sun with a delicious, authentic dinner.
The only spa that I did not visit was this popular Italian spa. The lobby felt like a hospital emergency room with its white chairs and a lit sign that displayed the number of the patient, which was a very similar feeling to my visit.
The public facility was focused more on the services offered and less on relaxation services. The 2000-square-meter swimming pool, which is lively and beckons children and adults alike, was the most important selling point at Terme Dei Papi.
The thermal pool is available all year. The on-site restaurant served a delicious lunch that was among my favorite meals of the week. Freshly grilled eggplants, tomatoes, cheeses, thinly sliced prosciutto, and melon were accompanied by delicious pasta, mouthwatering Italian cookies, and cakes, as well as the famous Est! Est! Est! wine (remember that we are at the Terme Dei Papi or Pope).
Victoria Terme Hotel at Tivoli
Assessment: This is a great place for small or large groups to enjoy a relaxing spa experience while enjoying local history and delicious food.
Each spa I visited had pools. However, the Victoria Terme Hotel boasts the largest thermal pool facility in Europe. It has four sulfuric spring pools totaling over 5,000m.
Simply put, the pool options were incredible. The pools weren’t yet full for the year when I visited, so I wasn’t able to enjoy their vast depths.
I was fortunate to be able to enjoy the thermal springs’ benefits in a different way, during fangoterapia (also known as mud therapy). The spring waters are heated and combined with clay.
After you have slathered mud on your back and arms, wrap yourself in plastic and let it dry. After you have been soaked in warm water, you will be able to relax in your own Jacuzzi. Although I am not sure if my body was changed or healed, it was definitely a relaxing experience.
The historic, fascinating Villa Adriana is worth a visit if you are looking for something other than spa life. It spans over 30 buildings and covers 250 acres. The tour will reveal the controversial story of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s secret relationship with Antinous, a male lover, while married to Vibia Sabina.
The Antiche Terme di Diana is located in the town, just minutes from Victoria Terme. After many years of owning a small restaurant with five tables, the owner decided to remove a wall that was emitting a pesky breeze and discovered the remains of an ancient Roman bath.
You can also dine in St. Andrew’s cardinal room if you’re lucky. Enjoy green lasagna with porcini, wild berry tiramisu, and veal rolls.
Grand Hotel Palazzo Della Fonte in Fiuggi
Grand Hotel Palazzo Della Fonte in Fiuggi
Assessment: A luxurious spa and hotel experience in the Lazio region. It is also a great overnight escape for couples.
This was our favorite hotel and spa out of all the ones we visited. Two swimming pools, a hot spa, two saunas, and two Turkish baths are part of the spa. There are also seven jetted showers.
I switched between spa features until I was completely free of all stress. You will feel like royalty in this “leading hotel of the world” with large beds, elegant dining rooms, and beautiful views from balconies.
You can find creative meals like steamed courgette flowers with sheep ricotta, creamed rice with grapefruit and basil, or medallions with suckling pork with juniper seeds in sweet red wines.
Although you might not visit Lazio specifically for the spas, you can still go to Rome if you are tired of the tourists and crowds.
Although the thermal springs might not be able to cure all your ailments, they can certainly help you forget about your problems.