Saturnia is one of the most visited small towns in the Maremma territory, in the south western zone of Tuscany. It is located in the area of the Monte Amiata, an extinct forested volcano with a height of 1,738 metres. The town is situated along the ancient Via Clodia, at about 170 kilometres far from Rome and about half an hour from the Tyrrhenian coast.
The close countryside, plenty of olive groves and a dense nature surrounded by hills with an exuberant nature, shapes one of the most fascinating sceneries in that part of the territory. The town hosts a good number of archaeological remains, while the neighbourhoods are rich in sites displaying important Etruscan and Roman finds like the vestiges of Etruscan settlements and necropolis, magnificent Roman villas and medieval hamlets and fortresses.
The curative thermals baths of Saturnia are noted all over the world for its thermal baths, which curatives waters gush out of the volcanic rock face at a temperature of 98.6 F degrees, during the whole year. The sulphurous springs come out from a volcanic crater at a rate of almost 800 litres per second. The waters go down along a natural extensive watercourse, shaping impressing waterfalls immersed in a bush nature, developing in a succession of pools dug in the volcanic rock by the age-old erosion. One of these waterfalls is located close to a prestigious spa centre, fully and accurately equipped with the best modern facilities, while the biggest one, known as the Mulino Waterfalls, is situated at 2 kilometres from the town with a free access.
The very mild climate of Saturnia and its surroundings, where trees and plants start to flourish
at the end of February, makes the site the ideal objective for foreign and Italian people who want to spend some wealthy holidays in an unspoiled and fascinating environment.
The origins of Saturnia come back from immemorial ages. Maybe it has been one of the first settlements in Italy in the prehistoric age. Dionysus of Halicarnassus (60 BC – 7 AD ca.) the celebrated Greek historian and rhetorician, who resided in Rome in the age of the Emperor Augustus, included the town among the ones which had been first occupied by the Pelasgians and subsequently by the Etruscans, considered as probable descendants of a Pelasgians branch. In the year 183 BC the town became a Roman colony and then the site of a prefecture.
To the still existing Etruscan walls, which once encircled Saturnia, the Romans added others, as well as important gates and edifications within the small town, which remains still cause the admiration of both archaeology experts and tourists.
The Etruscan and Roman were also the first civilizations who had benefit of the thermal curative springs. The town kept on being a prosperous place until the 14th century, when due to its features Saturnia and the surrounding area developed into a secure place for people in exile who were obliged to hide for political reasons, so the town was practically destroyed by the army of the Republic of Siena.
In the second half of the 19th century the water springs in Saturnia were rediscovered by Bernardino Ciacci. Then the land was completely drained, the small town was finely reconstructed and the first thermal spa was built.
The main and oldest archaeological site located in Saturnia’s area is the Necropoli of Sede di San Carlo. It houses numerous wells and deep carved tombs coming from the 6th and 5th centuries BC.
Where to eat:
Among the numerous restaurants and bars set in Saturnia we suggest you two first-rate restaurants:
- “Villa Montepaldi”. The restaurant is located in an elegant structure within the public areas of the exclusive Resort & SPA Terme di Saturnia, built in the beginning of the 20th century and recently entirely restored, though it preserves its former charming atmosphere, as well as the Etruscan antiques ornamenting the public area.
The restaurant, with a beautiful terrace for meals in season, overlooks the thermal spring and the park. It offers a delicious cuisine based on traditional recipes from both Maremma and Tuscany. Wine list is great.
A full meal per person is about 40/50 €.
- “Da Michele ai due Cippi” (Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 26). The fine ample restaurant is located in the main piazza in an old mansion which pertained to the Marquises Ximenes.
Its internal area has a charming fireplace always alighted in winter days, while the outdoors is characterized by a beautiful terrace facing to the piazza for meals in season. Its creative specialties come back from the old and tasteful Maremma’s recipes. Home made pasta and desserts are a must. Local wines are very good.
A full meal per person is about 35 €.
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