Montecatini Terme Area
“Thermal baths and faded glamour.” - Reviewed by Deborah
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Located between Lucca and Pistoia in Tuscany, the town of Montecatini Terme is renowned for its healing hot springs that have served the area for millennia and attracted nobility and artists alike for centuries.
French fashion designer Christian Dior spent his last days in Montecatini Terme on an autumn sojourn while Italian composers, Rossi, Verdi and Puccini were amongst its noted guests in addition to the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II. The Italian Medici family also had a summer house here, which you can visit.
Today, the town continues to be defined by its thermal baths, though its former glamorous status amongst the glitterati has long gone. Nevertheless, there remains something rather enchanting, albeit a tad uncanny, about the town and its baths, most of which are found in the Parco delle Terme, a fading spa complex and park famed for its art nouveau designs combined with renaissance grandeur.
Some of the thermal baths in Montecatini Terme are still open to the public, and you can book a “health check” where you are “prescribed” water from the springs, which are said to have healing properties when ingested as well as when one bathes in the water. A range of spa treatments are also available.
Besides thermal baths, visitors can enjoy a number of attractions including beautiful public fountains, the Palazzina Regia — which was the summer house of the Medici —, the Verdi Theatre and the War Memorial in the Royal Park by Giuseppe Petroni. The Montecatini Contemporary Art Museum (MO.C.A.) takes its residence in the Town Hall and is home to work by Joan Miró and Claes Oldenburg.
Other attractions for visitors to the area include an international racecourse, golf, and a number of excellent restaurants serving the very best of Tuscan cuisine. And, being so close to Chianti, let’s not forget the opportunity for some incredible wine tasting.
For a quaint afternoon, head to neighboring Montecatini Alto by a well maintained funicular railway that dates back to 1850. The funicular takes about 10 minutes to reach Montecatini Alto at the top of the hill where you can explore a number of picturesque churches and the ruins of what was once the defense walls for Montecatini Terme.
- Tuscany, central Italy
- 20 mins to Lucca
- 20 mins to Pistoia
- 30 mins to Vinci
- 40 min to Pisa Airport
- 50 mins to Florence Airport
EXPERIENCES IN MONTECATINI TERME
- Thermal Baths – Enjoy the healing properties of the water either bathing, drinking or with a spa treatment.
- Walking and Cycling – The whole town is easily walkable or you can rent bicycles to tour the local countryside.
- Gastronomy – Discover the many local and regional dishes with restaurants to suit every taste and budget.
- Wine Tastings – On the doorstep of Chianti, there are many options for wine tasting. We can even organize custom wine tastings – tell us your favourite Tuscany vintners and we’ll organize custom vineyard tours and tastings with lunches and special vintages where possible.
- Cooking Classes – Let us set you up with a local chef who will teach how to make the local delicacies.
- Shopping – Boutiques and specialty shops selling everything from chocolate treats, local designer clothing and unique Italian commodities such as leather items, silk ties, ceramics and jewellery.