One of the (many) pleasures of living here are the thermal springs that abound, thanks to our extinct volcano on Monte Amiata. These are greatly appreciated by Italians and each area has its own adherents who swear by the curative nature of the water.
In terms of sheer beauty and atmosphere I think it would be hard to beat Bagno Vignoni with its Medici built vasca in the centre of town where you would normally find the main piazza! With swallows swooping and screaming at dusk in summer or on a chilly winters day with the steam rising from it, it lifts the spirits. Although one can no longer bathe in it there are a few good hotels surrounding it where you can swim in the warm water. Alternatively there is free paddling just down the hill, good for resting hiking weary feet in spring or autumn!
For the most uplifting waters my favourite is Bagni San Fillipo a little further down the Via Cassia; here you can smell the place before you see it when the wind is in the right direction, due to the sulphur content of the water! Whiffy it may be but for making your feet feel as though you have been walking on air and for a wonderful soothing effect on the skin, it is unbeatable. The bathing establishment there closes from autumn until spring but there is quite easy access to the stream for DIY water treatment.
There are serious curative spa establishments at San Albino near Montepulciano and at Chianciano Terme, the latter having a catchy jingle which runs ‘Chianciano fegato sano’ Chianciano for a healthy liver! What the water actually tastes like I cannot say having hitherto left my liver to its own devices, unlike many locals who flock there from all over Tuscany and beyond.
Water, water everywhere; after last summer’s drought here it is welcome, whether it is at a thermal spa or falling on the woods and fields.