Tag Hot Spring

Road Trip to Saturnia

Maybe you’re waiting in a tiny laundromat for your clothes to dry and you strike up a conversation with the couple of people in there with you. That might lead to a lunch at il Raddi a delicious little hole in the wall restaurant that serves a plate of pasta al pomodoro for €2.50. That conversation may stretch out for two hours. Maybe you’ll be told of a beautiful hot spring in south Tuscany called Saturnia. Maybe that leads you and three co-conspirators to rent a car and drive down for a night.

Travelers make friends fast.

It took us much longer to get down to the hot spring than we had planned.  A Helikoser from San Francisco, Ramshackle Nikolas, drove while fellow American Chelsea, Aussie Izzy and I contributed by being terrible navigators. We took the scenic route, a road that is equally winding and beautiful so we stopped a lot along the way. That meant we got to scramble around on the stone walls of San Quirico d’Orcia, picking figs and peeking past garden gates.

We found ourselves a spot on the top of a hill to see the sunset over a misty valley and stargazed at the entrance to an electric candle lit graveyard. We knew we were on the right road to the hot spring and followed the a sign but somehow missed it and had to perform a 10 point turn under a bridge at a golf course. We retraced our route and asked a man at the restaurant at the edge of town. “Just down the road there, you can’t miss it,” he said.

It was something like nine o’clock when we finally found it. Jupiter and the full moon lit the natural mineral pools, already moon white, in a beautiful pale light. Before we dipped in Nicolas and I made some very ugly sandwiches—without the modern convenience of a knife—and we all devoured them before lugging our bottiglia di vino down to the edge and slipped into the water.

It was a really charming spot. I’d definitely go again, though the water was about ten degrees cooler that I had expected and my clothes all smell like Yellowstone now. We cruised back to Firenze on the fast road through Siena and got back to the car rental place with a half hour to spare.

More photos here.