There is a beautiful town in Tuscany known as Montecatini Terme, and it is well known for the mineral water springs that naturally rise out of the ground. These natural springs have powerful healing properties for people who suffer from different illnesses and health disorders. There are 11 main thermal mineral springs, and some spas date back into late 1700′s.
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Montecatini Terme located in Tuscany – one of the most popular places to visit in Italy that is itself one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. There are several reasons to visit Tuscany: benefit from the Gift of Mother Nature – healing termal mineral waters – cure your body; see Renaissance art in Florence; eat Tuscan food; taste the excellent local wines; and after all this enjoying a day at the beach in Viareggio.
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The town has a population of 20,000, but with 230 hotels, it accommodates 2,000,000 tourists a year. It is a town founded in BCE, but had not reached fame until the spas were developed in late 1300′s for the first time.
Mineral Spa Resorts
Mineral Spas are Health Resorts developed around naturally occurring mineral spring locales. Spas grew in reputation in the nineteenth century on into the late middle-twentieth century for their purported healing or healthful benefits to those wealthy enough to partake of their waters. This was called a Mineral Cure. United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered a paralytic illness, and regularly visited Warm Springs and other hot springs for restorative soaks. While his cousin Theodore Roosevelt became known as a manly-man of incredible endurance, he was a sickly child suffering from asthma and ‘took cures’ periodically in an attempt to gain better health.
Montecatini Terme is one of the most popular destinations in Italy for thermal spa tourism
Tuscany has many thermal spas. The largest and most famous of them is Montecatini Terme.
The most famous spa in town is the Tettuccio Terme located on the main street of Montecatini Terme – Viale Verdi, next to the park. On the same street you can find the municipality building and the tourist information center. The Tettuccio Terme was built in the late 18th century by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold of Habsburg – Lorraine, the son of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. The first three spas that were built were the Tettuccio, the Regina and Leopoldine. These three spas made Montecatini Terme famous all over the world, and a favorite place for the rich and the royalty.
These days the spa treatments have advanced and they include many modern methods of massage, mud pack treatments and hydrotherapy.
Healing Mineral Waters
Not many people in North America know (never mind, appreciate) about amazing health benefits of balneological resorts, which are very often called “spa resorts”. But “American” meaning of these words is a little bit different and usually associated with beauty salons. Balneotherapy refers to the medicinal use of water treatment, not to recreational use. Actually, the word “spa” is a Latin abbreviation for: S = salud, P = per, A = aqua, or “Health through Water.”
The term “balneotherapy” is generally applied to health treatment, including:
- drinking of mineral waters
- mineral water hot and natural vapor baths
- hydro massage through moving mineral water
- hot mud applications
- swimming in warm mineral water pools and other
Many mineral waters are rich in particular minerals (silica, sulfur, selenium, radium) which can be absorbed through the skin.
Drinking cure is an essential balneotherapeutic method.
- It firstly improves the digestion and cure different digestive disorders, diseases of kidneys, gall-bladder, pancreatic gland and intestines.
- Drinking mineral water activates metabolism which is essential for those suffering from diabetes, gout, arthritis and high pressure.
- It enhances immunity system.
- A weight loss and body purifying are among the most important health benefits of drinking cure.
Mineral water is taken repeatedly in controlled doses straight from the spring. A doctor specifies the amount and frequency as well as the spring type. Three weeks is the optimal duration of the drinking cure, and the recommended repeating is in a six-month interval.
The belief in the curative power of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times, but balneotherapy is especially widespread in Europe and Japan.
While taking treatment with thermal mineral water in Montecatini Terme enjoy the following:
- Go to a spa: Tettuccio to admire the liberty architecture or Excelsior to have a treatment (mud, termal-water massages, beauty and relax).
- Take the funicular (1898 cablecar) to Montecatini Alto. The historic part of the town offers a spectacular view and a typical square full of inviting restaurants.
- Montecatini Terme and it’s shops attracts many visitors coming just to have a walk in the commercial streets of the town-centre (Corso Matteotti, Corso Roma, Viale Verdi, Viale 4 Novembre…). It’s easy to stand in front of the many boutique’s windows in a daze.
- Buy Cialde in a can. A typical biscuit that preserves freshness for long time: perfect for a gift! A must is to taste the “Cialde” the Montecatini Terme biscuit made with just almonds and sugar into two thin wafers – about the size of a Chinese pancake, and reminiscent of the very best quality ice cream wafers. Available in boxes, along with other specialties such as pan forte, from impressive patisserie, Giovanini, just off main square.
- Try Vin Santo: sweet wine, the one drunk by the priest during the Mass.
Go for Sightseeing!
FLORENCE is the capital of Tuscany and a cultural, artistic and architectural gem. The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and its artistic, historic and cultural heritage and impact in the world remains to this day. The city has a major impact in music, architecture, education, cuisine, fashion, philosophy, science and religion. The historic centre of Florence contains elegant squares, gorgeous Renaissance palaces, academies, parks, gardens, churches, monasteries, museums, art galleries and ateliers. Uffizi is one of the most famous and important art galleries in the world, with an incomparable collection of international and Florentine’s art. It has the largest collection of Botticelli’s works in the world. The city has also been nominated, according to a 2007 study, as the most desirable destination for tourists in the world. It has been the birthplace or chosen home of many notable historical figures, such as Dante, Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Niccolò Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo Galilei, Catherine de’ Medici, Luigi Cherubini, Antonio Meucci, Guccio Gucci, Franco Zeffirelli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, and Emilio Pucci. 30 minute drive from Montecatini Terme.
SIENA is a medieval city which is probably known for a colourful horse race, conducted twice each year in the summer. But it is best known for being the largest centre in Italy for selling fashions from world famous designers. One hour drive from Montecatini Terme.
LUCCA is a small city with long history that goes back to Etruscan and Ancient Roman times, and the city retains pieces of Ancient architecture. The area of most interest to visitors is still enclosed within the old city defensive wall. The top of these broad walls is a ring park, a pleasant place for walking. Lucca’s great era was in the Gothic era just before the Renaissance, and the city contains much marvelous architecture from that era. One of Italian worldwide known opera composers, Giacomo Puccini, was born in Lucca. 20 minute drive from Montecatini Terme.
PISA is best known for the world famous Leaning Tower, but those who come here with their mind already made up that the Tower is the only thing to see may miss the rest of the architectural and artistic marvels of this beautiful city. 30 minute drive from Montecatini Terme.
Close to Montecatini, there is a small village called VINCI. Guess, who was born there? Right! Leonardo de Vinci.
VIAREGGIO is a small town which is located on the beautiful Mar Tirreno, and the country surrounding the city is the home of picturesque hills, quaint farm houses, and wineries. The city is a great destination for family, because of its many expansive beaches, and friendly locals. It is also a less expensive alternative to some surrounding beach towns.