May 30th, 2012
Phew….we made it! Today was my first time driving in Italy, and oh, what a journey. I, the captain and my partner Matt, the co-captain, braved our way from Rome (eek!) to Saturnia and then on to Chianciano Terme.
We departed about an hour late due to some confusion at the car rental agency and headed for Saturnia; which may host the most beautiful, natural hot springs in the world! When researching for my Europe trip in 2010, I came across blogs and pictures regarding Saturnia’s lovely hot springs; or ‘terme’ in Italian. Since then it has been a must on my so called ‘bucket list’.
I planned this drive through Tuscany for weeks. I had several road maps and Google maps/directions to boot. Needless to say, Google failed me, as the directions rendered themselves useless after the third step. But in the end, getting lost in Tuscany isn’t so bad.
After driving 20 minutes out of the way, then re-tracing our tracks, we then had to go down the road we returned from once more to ‘hopefully’ head in the ‘general’ direction of Siena. By this point I thought we’d never make it.
Miraculously, after about three hours (total trip was supposed to be two and a half hours) we saw a SIGN! A sign for Saturnia! It took us about 45 minutes to reach it, but it was totally worth it! (so many exclamation points because it was THAT exciting!)
When we finally made it, we parked our car, stripped down and got into our bathing suits. We walked for about one minute down a rocky road and could see the luscious springs.
If I could describe the sight in one word it would be ‘heaven’, if I were religious that is. But hey, this could be my heaven. This is what pictures are perfect for, because I couldn’t possibly give the springs justice with my description.
On the inside, there are some sharp rocks to be mindful of, and there is no easy way of getting from one ‘dip’ to the next. So I would not recommend going very far in the springs if you aren’t agile. Also, there is an odor due to the sulphur, but it isn’t very pungent and you do get used to it rather quickly. Needless to say, the first thing I did when arriving at our hotel in Chianciano Terme was have a shower!
Getting to Chianciano was another story…but I will leave it at we ‘eventually’ made it. We checked in to our hotel at 10pm. Thanks to Google maps, and not having a GPS we were only 4 hours behind schedule.
After my shower, we headed out for a fabulous dinner at a local pizzeria. I had a seafood pasta, that was one of the best I’ve ever had; while the co-captain had a prosciutto cotto e funghi pizza. We drank the best bottle of wine we have had since arriving in all of Europe at a mere 8 euro, along with limoncello, tiramisu and café. It was a wonderful experience.
You know the tiramisu is good when sharing you literally draw a line down the middle to divide it.
Tomorrow we set off to Montepulciano for the day, the to Sienna where we stay the night.