While exploring the heart of Tuscany, I came across this small little village called Bagno Vignoni, and I was immediately enchanted by its charm. The population is no more than 30 people, but don’t let this little Italian village fool you in all it has to offer.
Bagno Vignoni rests on a hill in the Val d’Orcia of Tuscany. The little village stands out for its outdoor natural thermal hot springs that sit below the town. In the village, you will find a Roman pool at the center of the main square, surrounded by historically and architecturally fascinating buildings. The thermal hot springs at this destination stand out as the oldest in Tuscany.
Especially if you’d like to unlock the secrets to getting the most out of this location and discover the historic people who visited this site, keep reading.
How to Get to Bagno Vignoni
Most recommend that you rent a car. The village sits 2 ½ hours from Rome, 1 ½ hours from Florence, and 30 minutes from Montepulciano. If coming from Florence or Rome, you would drive on the autostrada. You exit at Chiusi, which is about an hour from Florence. From there, you would drive on La Foce, which takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Another route is to Siena on the Tangenziale. After you reach Siena, take Cassia SS2.
At some point, you reach La Foce and continue until you reach the village. This route does take longer, but it’s more beautiful, and it was once an ancient Roman road. Don’t depend on public transportation here—better to rent a car.
This village sits on a hill above the Val d’Orcia in Tuscany. They originally created Bagno Vignoni as a spa town for the ancient Romans. The thermal waters take their source from a volcanic spring. In the Roman era, people believed that the waters over 120 degrees Fahrenheit had healing powers. Some of the famous visitors who came to heal include Catherine of Siena, Pope Pius II, Michel de Montaigne, and Lorenzo de Medici.
You’d park your car outside of the village area in Parco dei Mulini along the slopes of the hill. It’s a large parking lot. If you decide to tackle the path down the valley, bring a good pair of shoes. You can’t bathe in the town square pool. For the free thermal pools, visit Parco dei Mulini.
The 4 Best Places to See in Bagno Vignoni
Despite being a small town of no more than 30 people, you can see plenty here. Ancient Roman history left an indelible mark on this location. Let’s take a look.
1. The Refuge of Santa Caterina and Lorenzo de Medici
Giving the thermal spas an air of elegance are the Renaissance-era buildings, such as Santa Caterina di Loggia. They dedicated this lodge to her because she was said to be highly fond of the thermal springs here. Lorenzo de Medici, also known as the Magnificent, soaked in the mineral-rich baths in 1490 to cure his arthritis.
2. The Park of the Mills
Also known as Parco dei Mulini, located at the southern edge of the village, this area has hot spring streams that meander their way down the hill past an old mill complex. This is one of the easiest ways that you can check out the thermal hot springs. For those on a quick visit to Bagno Vignoni hot springs or those with children, this would make more sense, and it’s free. The main baths cost €40 for entrance for half a day.
An expert traveler’s tip: You can’t do a full-body soak in the free pools at Parco dei Mulini in the winter because they become too cold. During the winter season, you’d either choose one of the spa hotels or dip your feet in the ones at Park of the Mills.
3. The Historic Center of Bagno Vignoni
In the main square, you will see a pool that measures 49 meters long and 29 meters wide. The historic center is what truly makes this place shine. Many travelers love the piazza as truly unique. It has several buildings, a historical portico, and small ancient walls. The piazza gives you the typical Tuscan look. This is a great place to walk around in and find an Italian meal.
4. Church of San Giovanni Battista
Sitting in front of the thermal baths, the Church of San Giovanni Battista has a simple facade and only consists of a single nave. The inside of the church holds an 18th century painting from the school of Siena. It depicts Santa Catarina of Siena. In the porch that overlooks the basin, you will see a small chapel that they built in 1660, dedicated to Santa Catarina. In the fresco from the early 17th century, you see what represents the risen Christ. If you happen to be here around June 24th, they host the Feast of San Giovanni with a procession in front of the pools.
Due to its small population, you will eventually reach a point where you want to see other things. You’ll run out of things to do. I put together a few nearby must-see locations.
About 20 minutes from the town of Bagno Vignoni is Pienza. The medieval town was made famous for its local pecorino cheese and historic churches, like Il Duomo di Pienza. Pienza is also regarded as an UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s a fun place to walk around with its narrow medieval streets.
This medieval Renaissance hilltop town earned its place on this list near the thermal spring village because of its breathtaking views of the Val d’Orcia. Its historic Old Town makes it well worth the visit. Many vineyards and wineries surround Montepulciano.
San Quirico d’Orcia
One of the most charming and beautiful towns in the Orcia Valley, this town has many medieval churches and scenic countryside views. San Quirico d’Orcia also has a reputation for its spectacular sunsets with the sun’s rays reflecting off the medieval stone walls.
This town is famous for its red wine known as Brunello di Montalcino. They consider this wine as the best of Tuscany. Montalcino is famous for its beautiful medieval alleys in Old Town, and some awesome cafes and restaurants. You will see Tuscan cuisine represented at its finest.
Trekking in Monte Amiata
The only mountain located in southern Tuscany, Monte Amiata can be walked either on foot or by bicycle. Hiking trails range from easy to difficult. You will see breathtaking landscapes of the local surroundings in the Val d’Orcia. Along the trail, traces of ancient buildings covered in vines will excite the imagination and make great photos for social media.
Located out in the Tuscan countryside, Bagno Vignoni has many hotels here that take advantage of its thermal hot springs to make a spa. You can check out a couple of choices below:
Albergo Posta Marcucci
Giving you a spa center and a thermal bath, Albergo Posta Marcucci has two pools. An on-site restaurant meets your needs for eating, and the rooms come fitted with a TV and mini-bar.
Adler Spa Resort Thermae
The outdoor swimming pools at Adler Spa Resort Thermae have a regenerative and therapeutic effect. On premises, you can go to the Finnish sauna or the saline steam room. This location has a well-stocked wine cellar.
Relais Osteria Dell’Orcia
Built in the traditional Tuscan style, Relais Osteria Dell’Orcia has an outdoor swimming pool and elegant rooms with satellite TV. Built in a 16th-century post office, this property has wood-beamed ceilings, silk brocades, and cool tiles. The breakfast here is a delicious buffet baked bread, homemade yogurt, and croissants.
FAQs about Bagno Vignoni
Travelers often ask many of the same questions, so I put together a quick and easy FAQs section to help those who want to visit Bagno Vignoni but might have questions.
At a spa and hotel center, the cost will depend on the hotel, but you can go to the thermal baths for free at Parco dei Mulini. If you want a full-body soak, you may want to check out the spas and hotels. Especially in the winter, the thermal waters at Parco de Mulini can get too cold for a full-body soak.
You can see Bagno Vignoni in a few minutes, but if you’d like to take advantage of the thermal baths, stay a day and night at the Tuscan village.
Many tout the benefits of the thermal baths at Bagno Vignoni as taking care of arthritis, skin conditions, rheumatism, and muscle aches. This is due to the natural minerals in the water.
You would visit the spa with non-restrictive clothing like lounge wear or gym wear. This is because they want you to feel as comfortable as possible at the spa.
In hot water, it would be best not to stay longer to 15 to 20 minutes because it can overload the body’s circulation. You would not want to spend more than 45 minutes at the maximum.