Charming, comfortable and healthy. I’m talking about the thermal baths of Montecatini, where I discovered the pleasure of taking care of my body.
It’s amazing that the origin of the use of the waters of Montecatini dates back to Roman times, although the official history of the Thermal waters began just over 600 years ago. On that occasion, the scholar Ugolino Simoni from Montecatini examined within the written De Balneorum Italiae proprietatibus et Virtutibus, the nature of the mineral waters and he spoke for the first time of a bathroom in which peasants plunged to treat pain in their arms, legs and back and of a second bathroom which was used to treat scabies.
The waters are salt-sulphate-alkaline, which are unique in the world, they contain bromine, calcium, chlorine, iodine, lithium, magnesium, sulphate, sodium and potassium, elements crucial in the reinvigoration of the body.
The birth of the thermal building
s took place in 1773, with the construction of the first Royal Bath. This was followed with the construction of two further establishments, the Leopoldine and Tettuccio.
As today, it was during the 19th and 20th Centuries that Montecatini became known as the famous Terme di Montecatini, a Spa resort where people could “take the waters” indulging in the practice of traditional water therapy.
Montecatini, however, is not only synonymous with thermal baths. There is also the medieval Montecatini Alto, which was definately worth my visit, it oozes history, art and antiques. In the mid-sixteenth century, the area suffered heavy devastation, with the demolition of several buildings, including the walls and fortress, today there is the Palace of Justice, the Registrar, lodges, churches and convents. In 1898 the famous funicular railway was built to connect the old medieval village and the Spa town.
I chose to get in one of the carriages, and as the funicular transported me upwards and i marveled at the view, i wondered if maybe Giuseppe Verdi had done as I was doing, he was a faithful frequenter of the Montecatini Spas, maybe he’d also sat in one of the carriages and made his way up towards Montecatini Alto, to meet with his friends and enjoy a cup of coffee, or like me, a glass of wine!