Italy's best-known hot spring is at Saturnia in the wild Maremma area of southern Tuscany, about an hour south of Siena. It is a dramatic landscape of thickly wooded hills and valleys, olive groves, rows of vines and acres of wheat fields, the horizon riveted by cypresses.
Legend has it that the Roman god of the harvest, Saturn, lost his temper with war-hungry men and sent a lightning bolt that split the earth. Hot sulphuric water flowed from the rift over the people, calming them down. The main falls are easy to find: not far from the town's main spa, a dirt track brings you to a field where you can park and change before heading down to the springs – a series of rock pools that have been turned white by the minerals in the water, which falls in a succession of cascades into the pools.The water is about 37C and instantly relaxes the body, releasing aches and pains. The minerals here are sulphur, calcium and carbon, good for skin conditions and aching joints. When it gets too hot, there is the river Albegna alongside to dip into to cool down.