With more nat­u­ral ther­mal spas than any other coun­try in the world, Italy is the per­fect des­ti­na­tion for health-boost­ing hol­i­days all year round

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There are few bet­ter hol­i­days than a spa break to nour­ish body and soul. And Italy’s nat­u­ral spas are set in stun­ningly beau­ti­ful land­scapes, where you can treat your­self to the ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits of min­eral-in­fused ther­mal wa­ters and health and beauty treat­ments all year round. From an­cient baths to nat­u­ral salt caves and chic spa ho­tel re­sorts, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

This be­ing Italy, food is im­por­tant too, so you’ll find spa restau­rants serv­ing divine healthy food too.

Add in Italy’s in­nu­mer­able other at­trac­tions... art, mu­sic, his­tory, ar­ti­sanal food and fizz – and the only ques­tion is when can you go?

Fri­uli-Venezia Gi­u­lia

Tucked away in the north­east cor­ner of Italy, this small re­gion is a well-kept se­cret, though its pop­u­lar­ity as an upmarket tourist des­ti­na­tion is grow­ing, thanks to its coast­line, moun­tains, Ro­man ru­ins and gas­tron­omy.

Near Tri­este, the Por­topic­colo Spa by Bakel of­fers a jaw-drop­ping view of the Adri­atic Sea through its floor-to­ceil­ing win­dows. Here, you can soothe mind and body in a salt cave and a sea­wa­ter plunge pool.

For a beach­front spa, head to Vene­tian-style Grado, an is­land con­nected to the main­land by a thin strip of land. The Ma­rine Baths of

Grado have two sea­wa­ter pools, one with hy­dro­mas­sage jets. Treat­ments in­clude tha­las­sother­apy, steam ther­a­pies to boost your res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem and psam­mother­apy, a sand treat­ment that soothes arthri­tis.

WHILE YOU’RE THERE Sam­ple the won­der­ful lo­cal pro­duce – this area pro­duces ex­cel­lent white wines and a lo­cal spe­cial­ity, cave-aged Ja­mar cheese. Sight-see­ing treats in­clude the Mi­ra­mare Cas­tle, perched im­pres­sively on the Gulf of Tri­este, which has a beau­ti­ful 22-hectare gar­den, and the re­mark­able Ro­man ru­ins at Aquileia.


Best known for its style cap­i­tal Mi­lan, Lom­bardy is also fa­mous for rolling hills and glit­ter­ing lakes.

Aquaria spa, based in the pretty me­dieval town of Sirmione, over­looks Lake Garda, and its min­eral-rich ther­mal wa­ters bub­ble up from a spring un­der the lake at an am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture. Bathing in the warm wa­ter on a crisp au­tum­nal day, while gaz­ing at a snow-tipped Alpine panorama, is a joy.

For a spot of moun­tain air, try Bormio Terme: Bagni Nuovi has seven out­door pools and 30 dif­fer­ent spa fa­cil­i­ties;

while neigh­bour­ing Bagni Vec­chi of­fers Ro­man baths, a grotto lead­ing to a ther­mal spring, and a clifftop pool with su­perb views over the Bormio Val­ley.

WHILE YOU’RE THERE Head to Mi­lan for ar­chi­tec­ture, art and fash­ion. The opera house Teatro alla Scala, the white mar­ble Duomo cathe­dral and Santa Maria delle Gra­zie, home to Da Vinci’s Last Sup­per, are must-sees. And stock up on Mi­lan’s world-fa­mous pan­netone and Christ­mas sweets.


This beau­ti­ful area of cen­tral Italy is famed for its di­verse land­scapes and the art and ar­chi­tec­ture of cities such as Florence, Pisa and Siena.

To the south of the re­gion, you’ll find the lux­u­ri­ous Terme di Satur­nia Spa and Golf Re­sort, one of the best ther­mal spas in the world. Along­side ther­mal pools with steam, wa­ter­falls and jacuzzis, you can en­joy mas­sages with mud or honey and es­sen­tial oils, plus there are detox­ing and slim­ming pack­ages on of­fer.

If you want to take ad­van­tage of free ther­mal wa­ters in a spec­tac­u­lar nat­u­ral set­ting, head for the Gorello Falls or the Molino Falls – be­side an old mill – where the wa­ter gur­gles up from the earth at around 36°C.

WHILE YOU’RE THERE. You’ll find charm­ing towns near Satur­nia, es­pe­cially Pit­igliano. Its cliff-edge houses over­look a ravine and the wind­ing streets are packed with ar­ti­san work­shops, plus there’s an im­pres­sive fortress and cathe­dral. Stock up on can­tucci (al­mond bis­cuits) and finoc­chiona, a fen­nelflavoured salami.


With a mild cli­mate, rich his­tory and ter­races of cit­rus, olives and vines that stretch down to the sea, one of the jew­els in this re­gion’s crown is Ischia. This small, green is­land, nes­tled in the Gulf of Naples, is home to some 300 spas.

The charm­ing town of Casam­ic­ci­ola has the old­est ther­mal baths on the is­land, or you could try the largest at the Giar­dini Po­sei­don Terme, which spe­cialises in an­ti­age­ing and de-stress­ing treat­ments.

Ne­gombo Ther­mal Gar­dens has 12 pools, in­clud­ing a sea­wa­ter pool over­look­ing San Mon­tano beach. One of the high­lights is a Ja­panese Labyrinth Bath that uses dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures to boost cir­cu­la­tion.

WHILE YOU’RE THERE Ischia is pop­u­lar for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, from walk­ing to snorkelling and sail­ing, while his­tory lovers will be in heaven with a visit to Naples, home to Pom­peii and Her­cu­la­neum. When it comes to re­lax­ing, the is­land’s fine cui­sine and wines – Bian­colella, Fo­rastera and Piedirosso – will go down a treat, too.

Clock­wise from top left: Bagni Nuovi, Bagni Vec­chi, both part of Bormio Terme, Lom­bardy; Terme di Satur­niaSpa & Golf Re­sort, Tus­cany; Por­topic­colo Spa by Bakel in Fri­uli Venezi Guilia; Bagni Vec­chi, Lom­bardy

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