Among the rolling hills and vineyards of the Tuscan countryside you can find some of the most spectacular hot springs in all of Italy. Cascade del Mulino can be found just outside the small town of Saturnia, Italy, in the Province of Grosseto. These hot springs are free to visit and quite popular. To avoid crowds, it is best to visit these hot springs on weekdays or any time in late fall, winter, and early spring.
The waters of Cascate del Mulino flow year round and have been a popular place to soak for centuries. The thermal water flows from an underground source rich in minerals, and it maintains a constant temperature of 37 degrees Celsius year round. The water first flows to the surface under the Terme di Saturnia Spa and Golf Resort, where there are a number of pools and waterfalls. From the resort, the thermal water flows downstream through fields and rivers until it reaches the waterfall at Cascate del Mulino.
The history of the baths around Saturnia can be dated back to ancient times. During the Bronze Age, the Ethruscans constructed a holy bath in a nearby temple to worship the gods that brought them this gift. Soon after, the Romans seized this area and built the first public bath in history, Aurinia, in the center of Saturnia. If you ask the locals, they will tell you that Saturnia is the first town founded on the Italian peninsula and is actually the mythical Saturnia tellus, refuge to the god of Saturn when he lost the throne of the gods. The town is extremely ancient, dating back to the 20th century B.C. by the Pelasgians (pre-Hellenic population of unknown origin).
When visiting the thermal pools of Cascate del Mulino, be sure to park in the large dirt parking lot and not along the road, or you could be fined. There are no restrooms or potable water at the springs. There is a small bar next to the thermal pools, but you will need to make a purchase to use their restrooms. The pools at Cascate del Mulino are all naturally made of travertine. The bottom and sides of the pools are very sharp, so be sure to wear water shoes to avoid cutting your feet. The area just below the falls has many thermal pools for soaking and relaxing. The mud along the walls is rich in minerals and can be used for a mud bath, and it is said to have healing properties. The water flows through the cascading pools and meets with a cold water creek at the bottom of the cascades. If you are visiting during peak season and want to avoid the crowds at the cascading pools, you can follow the creek upstream. The entire creek is warm, but many visitors do not venture up past the falls. Just follow the creek through the fields to find your place of solitude.