Tuscan Terme & Thalasso
Not Your Usual Spa Vacation
By Bernard Burt
For more than 3,000 years Tuscan terme have offered healing waters for just about anything that ails you. Built around volcanic springs, terme are thermal spas. Doctors often prescribe terme-related baths and mud treatments. Today, resort spas built around volcanic springs provide ideal escapes for relaxation and romantic escapes. Checking out the scene last summer, I mixed medieval art in Siena, wine tastings in Montepulciano, and an olive oil sampling in Pitigliano, with visits to world-class wellness centersâ€”all within the Maremma region, the heart of Tuscany.
Even Parisian chef Alain Ducasse of Spoon and Mix fame has a restaurant at L'Andana, an 18th century country estate created for the Duke of Tuscany. Opening this summer, the spa at L'Andana marks a clean break from the medical model. So do the thalassotherapy treatments at Il Pellicano, a luxe hideaway on Tuscany's Ligurian seacoast.Â For luxurious spa treatments with medical consultations, visitÂ Fonteverde Terme Hotel or Terme di Saturnia's Institute of Thermal Medicine and Cosmetology.
Thalassotherapy at Il Pellicano
Tucked into Monte Argentario, the villas of Il Pellicano provide privacy and high-class resort services. Bathrooms feature Bulgari amenities and ancient cypress and pine trees frame views of the sea. There's a heated seawater swimming pool, but no beach. Reached by elevator, the sea is for sunbathing on the rocks. Escape the mid-day sun in the spa and beauty salon, which offers treatments with Phytomer products from Brittany. Rich in seaweed extracts, calcium, and magnesium, Phytomer's line cleanses, detoxifies, and restores radiance to your skin. Their self-heating mud cocoons you prior to a hydro-massage bath with marine elements. Other amenities include a Turkish bath, jet shower, exercise equipment, and aromatherapy massage. For the chic crowd at the terrace barbecue, la dolce vita doesn't get much better. Il Pellicano is two hours from Rome and Florence, above Porto Ercole. This Relais & Chateaux hotel features thirty one double rooms and nineteen suites. ForÂ moreÂ informationÂ callÂ 0039 0564 858111 or visit www.pellicanohotel.com
Thermalism Updated at Terme di Saturnia
The secret behind Saturnia's warm sulfurous water is contained within the black globs of plankton that come from volcanic springs beneath the resort's vast pool. Trademarked bio-alga, this substance is blended with mineral-rich mud for facials and body wraps. Newly expanded, Saturnia's wellness center offers anti-aging programs as well as treatments for stress and a beauty salon. On the more serious side, Saturnia's fitness program can include a medical consultation and one-on-one training. American-born hotel director Kirk W. Lemley says visitors enjoy classic Tuscan cuisine and vegetarian buffets. Join the daily walk led by fitness staffers, or hike up to the town for which the resort is named and enjoy a long lunch with panoramic views of the valley. Resort guests can relax in the new Roman bathhouse or soak in the pool and cascades. Recently enlarged, Terme di Saturnia, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, has 140 elegantly appointed rooms, including 64 junior suites. For more information call (800) 745-8883 or visit www.termedisaturnia.it
Family-oriented Fonteverde Terme
Tracing its origins to an aristocratic 17th-century Medici palazzo, Fonteverde Terme Hotel looks luxe and fresh after a major makeover and expansion. The day spa features marble-walled changing rooms and indoor and outdoor pools that terrace down a hillside. More than 100 treatments are offered, from Ayurveda to Zu reflexology (a Tibetan foot massage).Â You can also schedule checkups with medical specialists, a dentist, and a nutritionist.Â Located in San Casciano Dei Bagni near the Chiusi train station, Fonteverde features eighty rooms including suites decorated with antiques, lush fabrics, and marble bathrooms. For more information call (800) 745-888 or visit www.fonteverdeterme.com
Healing Harvest Tour adds Tisane and Olive Oil Tasting
Learn how to make and use organic olive oil with Tuscan experts on a Healing Harvest study tour this fall. Costanza Giunti of Il Laboratorio dell'Erborista produces a range of indigenous specialty Etruscan products, noted locally for herbal preparations and wild craft tisane teas blended to address a range of issues including obesity, physical and emotional stress, and sexual dysfunction. Biodynamic oil producer Lorenzo Andi will help guests harvest and press olives, then taste results. Conceived and led by New York entrepreneur Gina Molinari, the November 5â€“16 tour includes a stay at Terme di Saturnia. For more information call (718) 998-8631 or visit www.healingharvests.com