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la costa Toscana

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Abbazia di Sant'Antimo

Monte Amiata





          Fonti di Siena



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          Walking in the Val d'Orcia

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Val d'Orcia

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Bagno Vignoni

Toacana ] Galleria di immagini  

Bagno Vignoni

The ancient village of Bagno Vignoni is located in the heart of Tuscany, in the Val d'Orcia Natural Park. Thanks to the Via Francigena (which was the main route followed by pilgrims in antiquity who went to Rome), these thermal waters were found and have been used since Roman times. At the heart of the village is the "Square of sources", namely a rectangular tank, of 16th-century origin, which contains the original source of water that comes from the underground aquifer of volcanic origins. Since the Etruscans and Romans - as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds - the spa of Bagno Vignoni was attended by eminent personalities such as Pope Pius II, Santa Caterina da Siena, Lorenzo the Magnificent and many other artists who had elected the village as main holiday resort. Characteristic of Bagno Vignoni, besides the thermal waters, are its structure, despite numerous incidents of war, devastation and fires that involved the Val d'Orcia in the Middle Ages, remains essentially unchanged since then. From Bagno Vignoni, you can easily reach the historical centers of nearby Pienza and Montalcino, and the general Val d'Orcia area, including the Park of Mount Amiata.

The name of this ancient village derives from Vignoni, a famous castle already existing in the 11th century, whose ruins are located on a hill overlooking the village. It is renowned for its thermal waters, already used in Roman times, as testified by a large number of archaeological findings included in the Chigi Collection in Siena, National Archaeological Museum.
During the 13th century, the "Bagno" was subjected to the Tignosi Family, lords of Tintinnano, now called Rocca d' Orcia, and it remained under their lordship until the end of the 13th century; in the early 14th century, Bagno Vignoni and the surrounding villages and castles passed into the hands of the Salimbeni family from Siena that owned them until 1417, when Antonia Salimbeni's second husband, Attendolo Sforza, sold the family's properties to the municipality of Siena.
Despite countless battles, pillaging, and fires that devastated the Val d'Orcia during the Middle Ages, the village of Bagno Vignoni has remained essentially unchanged in its urban structure and appearance until today.

The village developed on a stretch of flat land, surrounded on one side by the Vignoni hill and on the other by the steep gorge of the river Orcia, around a large rectangular pool containing spring water that surfaced from the ground. This structure, which influenced the layout of the entire village and is still at its center, is reminiscent of some typical features of Roman thermal establishments.

Houses and inns were built around the pool, as well as the Church of Saint John the Baptist, which holds a restored fragment of a fresco depicting the resurrected Christ, attributed to Ventura Salimbeni and previously preserved in Saint Catherine's Chapel. The waters flowed out of the pool, past a bridge with porticoes, reached the baths and then powered a series of watermills located on the steep hillside sloping down towards the river. Tourists can now visit these ancient mills thanks to a thorough restoration of the area, recently carried out by the Municipality of San Quirico d'Orcia (Watermills Park).

Bagno Vignoni
Bagno Vignoni, Parco dei Mulini [1]

It is a known fact that Catherine from Siena was taken to Bagno Vignoni numerous times by her mother, who hoped to dissuade her from becoming a nun. Several other famous personalities came here, further proof of the baths' great fame, such as Pope Pius II Piccolomini and Lorenzo De Medici, who sojourned in Bagno Vignoni for a while in 1490. Thanks to the proximity of the village to the Via Francigena, the main road pilgrims traveled on to go to Rome, many travelers came to the baths and those who had time to stop could enjoy the therapeutic properties of the local waters, as testified, for instance, by Michel de Montaigne's travel diary written in 1581.

In the 16th century, the waters and their therapeutic properties inspired Lattanzio Tolomei, a scholar from Siena, who wrote an inscription dedicated to the Nymphs with verses in Greek carved on a plaque, which is still visible today along one of Saint Catherine's loggias. The Municipality of Siena always took a great interest in regulating the way in which thermal cures were organized throughout the area and two paragraphs of the Statute of the Town are dedicated to the Vignoni Baths.

They prescribe the separation of men's baths from those for women, to be carried out both by the residents of the village and by the people living in the castles of the Val d'Orcia; the document also sets the price of rooms to let.

Many scholars took an interest in the mineral waters and the baths and began to study them: among the authors who mention Bagno Vignoni is the physician Andrea Bacci, who stayed in the village in 1548 and praised the generous hospitality of his host family, the Amerighis. In 1592, the Grand Duke granted the Amerighi family the tallage on the baths, under obligation to take care of the facility's upkeep and necessary repairs. In 1599, the agreement became permanent but the family had to provide the Baths with a baker's, a butcher's, an inn, and the necessary personnel to administer the thermal treatments, while in order to carry out the yearly draining of the pool, to be performed in May, the Amerighis could avail of the inhabitants of Val d'Orcia.

The Amerighis also built a small chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine, located at the center of the loggia that overlooks the large thermal pool. In 1677 Grand Duke Cosimo III De Medici gave Cardinal Flavio Chigi San Quirico d'Orcia as a feud, together with the small villages of Vignoni and Bagno Vignoni, so that the baths together with three mills, eight houses, an inn, and a number of fields became the property of the Chigi family, whose descendants still partially own them.

Tuscany | Bagno Vignoni

Rocca di Tentennano
Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia
Rocca di Tentennano

San Casciano dei Bagni


Siena, Palazzo Sansedoni

Abbazia di Sant' Antimo, between Montalcino and Podere Santa Pia

Bagno San Filippo

The best hiking trails around Bagno Vignoni

From Montalcino

Walking from Montalcino to Bagno Vignoni | 20 km

Castiglione d 'Orcia

Circular walk | Bagno Vignoni, Vignoni, Ripa D’Orcia and Rocca d’Orcia | 17,5 km

Circular walk | Anello Bagno Vignoni – Vignoni Alto Anello | 9 km, 3 hours


The Countryside around Siena and its Thermal Water Springs

Although well known throughout the world as an area particularly rich in top class wineries, the countryside around Siena also abounds in water springs, many of which are well hidden deep within the many woods that cover this region. A good way to discover the many thermal baths of the Senese campagna is to take the Via Cassia, formerly known as Via Romea, once a favourite route for the many pilgrims on the way to and from Rome, who would make use of the many springs and small rivers along the way.
Unrivalled in Italy for its concentration of thermal baths, the province of Siena has always placed considerable importance on this valuable natural resource and has taken every step to ensure that it is adequately protected. But the Etruscans and later the Romans were the first inhabitants of the area to really appreciate the properties of thermal bathing, as testified by the many constructions erected by these two civilisations, many of which still stand today.
In recent decades spa tourism has gradually increased in popularity, developing into a veritable business for this area. The thermal baths have grown into well-being centres combining modern and elegant structures with the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. Among these there is Bagni di Petriolo, with its unique fortified structure that was known as early as Cicero, who quotes it in one of his legendary speeches.
Further south into the province, at Montaperti, there is the Acqua Borra spring, whose natural basins attract many tourists on account of the beneficial waters. At Rapolano, right in the heart of Tuscany, there are the Antica Querciolaia springs, known for the extraordinary energising properties of the waters and for its homeopathic cures. The Terme di San Giovanni are also nearby and open during the summer months, with a large swimming pool that is open late into the night.
The small spa village of Bagno Vignoni has remained virtually unaltered through the centuries, with the thermal spring right in the main square. A host of illustrious figures are known to have come here through the ages, from Lorenzo de’ Medici to St Catherine of Siena. The hamlet of Bagni San Filippo looks directly out over the rolling Val d’Orcia hills, with the springs directly beneath Monte Amiata.
Of all the spa towns and springs in the region perhaps the best known is Chianciano Terme, however, which offers a concentration of different waters: Santa, Fucoli, Sillene and Sant’Elena – all of which have their own particular properties and temperatures, enabling visitors to take advantage of a broad variety of cures and treatments. The town was known to the Romans as 'Fontes Clusinae' and still has a small medieval core. The Acqua Santa spa-waters are taken internally for liver complaints.

Right at the foot of Monte Amiata lies one of the most nontypical spa towns, Bagni San Filippo, situated on a plateau beneath the peak ("La Vetta") of "Monte Amiata" and above the hills of Val d'Orcia, immersed in open pathless countryside of fields and meadows and surrounded by woods and forests of cypress, acorn, pine and spruce trees. The source is famous above all for its hot sulphurous waters.
One of the most famous spa centres in Tuscany lies on the border of Umbria in the village of San Casciano Bagni : Fonteverde is a most modern wellness centre which invites you to an ultra modern bathing pool.
On the other side of the Val d'Orcia lies Bagno Vignoni, a tiny thermal station which dates back to Roman times. The warm waters bubble up into a large picturesque pool, constructed by the Medici and surrounded by mellow stone buildings in the charming piazza.

Also to be found in the province of Siena is Rapolano Terme, a medieval town with spa waters and travertine quarries, and Petriolo, a little spa enclosed in 15C walls. A key feature here is that one can relax between hot and cold pools.
Also attractive and with cold water areas is the Terme in Sarteano, a delightful little medieval town amid gentle countryside. The waterfall here is the work of a famous japanese designer. After a relaxing dip in the warm mineral waters one can take a stroll admiring the scenery and visit the church of San Martino with Madonnas by Giacomo di Mino and frescoes by Beccafumi.

Just a short trip further on from Montepulciano is another thermal bath in Sant'Albino.


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