Known for its thermal waters and underwater piazza (seen in the photo below), the Tuscan town of Bagno Vignoni was the departure point for the 8-day Tuscany cycling trips I used to guide. We’d arrive by coach from Florence, and 25 or so North Americans dressed in spandex cycling gear would walk up from the parking lot and gather around a shed where we had stored the bikes. The guides would welcome the travelers, assign the bikes, and after a quick foot soak in the free-flowing thermal waters, we’d pedal off to explore the Tuscan countryside.
It says something about the beauty of the town and the surrounding countryside that we chose Bagno Vignoni as our introduction to 8 days in Tuscany. It also says something that we stayed for under an hour. I’m not saying don’t go – but be prepared, it’s small.
What to see in Bagno Vignoni
Many people visit the area for the thermal springs, which flow at a constant 52 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Fahrenheit). If you’re looking to do that, know that swimming in the pool above is not allowed. However, there are other options.
- If you’re hiking in the area, just have sore feet, or suffer from arthritis, take off your shoes and socks and soak your feet in the narrow (foot-width) stream flowing with thermal waters. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one – and depending on the day, you may have to get in line.
- Or go soak in the free hot springs at the bottom of the hill next to the river.
- Or if it’s not Thursday, the thermal pool at the local hotel (on this map) is open to the public.
- To experience the restorative power of thermal waters in a high-end hotel, stay at or visit the spa of hotel Adler Thermae.
Other things to do in Bagno Vignoni
The town was busy in the middle ages because it’s on the Via Francigena, the road connecting Canterbury and Rome. Today, however, its permanent population totals 36 people, but with all the tourists, you’d never guess it. With tourists come touristy shops and touristy restaurants, but Bagno Vignoni has a few gems worth seeking out. Stop and visit Hortus Mirabilis. a shop run by one of the most famous herbalists in Italy. Eat at the Osteria del Leone (closed Mondays).
What to see nearby
- Visit the hill towns of Pienza or Montepulciano.
- Consider staying at the fabulous Locanda Dell’Amorosa.
- You’re not far from the incredible city of Siena either.
- Definitely hit Monteriggioni, (another Via Francigena stop) and San Gimignano, along the way.
Photo by Danilo Enrietti.
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