Are you planning a trip to San Casciano dei Bagni and wondering how best to visit the thermal baths?
I have been living nearby for over ten years and have visited the San Casciano dei Bagni thermal baths countless times as a tourist, with friends and as a family with kids.
In this guide, I will take you through the free San Casciano dei Bagni hot springs, providing insider information on tips for having the best experience possible. I will include specific information about parking, what to pack and how best to organize your day.
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Best Time To Visit The San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Baths
The best time to visit the San Casciano dei Bagni hot springs is during the off season, meaning any other time than June, July and August. This is the busiest time for tourism in Southern Tuscany and because the pools are quite small, they can feel full quickly.
My family also prefers the baths in cooler weather. The temperatures of the thermal waters are around 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), depending on the pool. We don’t love the warm water in the summer heat but prefer it much more in the colder months.
Even at the end of September or in May the temperatures in Tuscany are much more mild, making the thermal waters perfect!
Free Thermal Baths Vs Private Thermal Baths
San Casciano dei Bagni is famous for their thermal waters and hot springs, attracting both locals and tourists from all over the world.
If you are looking for a luxury experience with spa treatments, you can visit the Fonteverde Spa and Hotel Resort but if you are looking for a more authentic experience, the public hot springs just below the village is where you want to be.
The water is exactly the same at both the spa and at the free hot springs. No matter what you choose, you will reap the many benefits of soaking in the warm waters of San Casciano dei Bagni.
The free hot springs are a much more rustic and easy going experience whereas the private thermal baths at Fonteverde offer a more curated, manicured experience. When I am with my kids or with friends who have never been here, I prefer the public hot springs. I don’t have to worry as much about how much noise my kids make and it feels more authentic and genuine down at the free pools.
I am a really easy going person though and don’t care too much about the extras such as a warm towel, changing room, cold water to drink, messages, etc. If these things are important for you, choose Fonteverde.
Benefits Of Thermal Waters In San Casciano Dei Bagni
Soaking in thermal water has numerous health benefits and you can even get a doctor’s prescription in Italy to have treatments carried out using thermal water for various health conditions.
Here is a quick list of the largest benefits of soaking in thermal waters:
- Improves skin (hydration, irritation and pre-existing conditions such as eczema)
- Lowers stress levels
- Helps lower joint pain and eases muscle recovery
- Improves blood circulation
- Clears your sinuses
How To Get To The San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Baths
To arrive at the San Casciano dei Bagni hot springs you will need a car. Once you come to the small village, take the small road, Via della Fontaccia, just to the left.
To actually get down to the public pools with the thermal water you will need to walk downhill about five minutes. Just another five minutes is the second of the two pools (which is also the larger pool).
You can also opt to take the suggested hiking route “Le Sorgenti” (n.01) from the historic center to arrive at the vasca grande by following the suggested maps in San Casciano Active (pick it up at the tourist office at the end of the Piazza Matteotti).
Parking At The San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Baths
There are three parking lots, two at the beginning of the road on the right and another larger lot further down on your left. This is the last lot you can park at before you start walking downhill.
Alternatively, you can park at any of the other parking lots at the base of San Casciano dei Bagni and walk down from the beginning of Via della Fontaccia.
The road down to the thermal baths is closed 24 hours a day to cars who do not have a permit. This means that cars do pass by the thermal baths but you may not drive right up to them.
What To Bring To The San Casciano Dei Bagni Hot Springs
Visiting the San Casciano dei Bagni thermal baths for years now has given me a pretty good idea of what to pack. Here is a short list of items to pack in a backpack:
- A change of clothes
- Plenty of Water
- Snacks or a lunch
- Shoes for walking
- Water shoes (not mandatory nor necessary but I like to have them) or flip flops
- Flotation device for small kids
The San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Waters
The large, rectangular basin or pool is the first that you will come to on your left hand side, just about five minutes from the closest parking lot.
The pool is supplied with two different water sources with a flow rate of 1.5 liters of water per second. The water temperature hovers around 95 degrees F (36 degrees C).
There is a small loggia or covered roof built in 1871. Prior to this, the pool was simply a wash house used by the locals.
Il Bagno Grande
Bagno Grande is the largest of the San Casciano dei Bagni thermal baths with a flow of 25 liters of water per second and a water temperature of about 106 degrees F (41.5 degrees C).
The swimming area is made up of three pools, each of a different depth and temperature. The largest rectangular pool is the most shallow.
Surrounding the large pools is an archeological site, still under excavation in which a large sanctuary complex from the Roman times was discovered.
This, along with the various statues, objects and materials found have made this discovery one of the most important in recent times.
There are two small benches to sit down under the shade surrounding the pools.
Lunch At The San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Baths
Depending on how much time you want to spend at the San Casciano dei Bagni thermal baths, you might consider packing a picnic to bring down with you.
There is a picnic area with picnic tables in shaded areas where you can eat. The picnic areas are equipped with trash cans so please use them. I have been in the pools when people have left trash or apple cores and it’s really unpleasant.
You can easily pick up several ingredients to make a picnic lunch at the FEMA pizzicheria just above Piazza Matteotti in the village of San Casciano dei Bagni. They can either make you sandwiches or you can buy everything you need to assemble your own lunches down at the picnic tables.
If you plan to have lunch at one of the many restaurants in San Casciano dei Bagni instead of packing a picnic, hit the baths early in the morning, giving you ample time. The thermal water sucks a lot of energy from you and you don’t want to be rushed on the short uphill hike back to the car after bathing.
Usually we bring a small snack and then fill up on gelato at Bar Centrale in the center of San Casciano dei Bagni.
San Casciano Dei Bagni Hot Springs With Children
The San Casciano dei Bagni hot springs are a great activity to do with children. The different pools are of different depths, making it even easy for parents with little kids.
If you are worried that the water is too hot, start with the first pool which is cooler and then move onto the second.
I like to bring some form of water shoes such as Crocs for my kids. I have never come across broken glass at the San Casciano dei Bagni thermal baths but better safe than sorry.
If you have very small children, bring some form of flotation device for them. My three year old touches the most shallow pool but my 1 ½ year old doesn’t.
Tips For Visiting San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Baths
- Already have your bathing suite on when you go down to the thermal baths. There is no changing room or closed area to get changed.
- There is no public drinking water or fountain closeby the San Casciano dei Bagni thermal baths so be sure you bring enough water.
- Remember to leave the San Casciano dei Bagni hot springs as you found them: please pick up all your trash, including any biodegradable food waste.
- Hit the bathrooms before you go. There are no public restrooms.
- Wear shoes, especially children, to avoid getting hurt.
- Get there early in the morning or over the lunch hour (from 1-2:30 pm) to avoid crowds.
San Casciano Dei Bagni Thermal Baths FAQ
Yes, it is. Children can spend just as much time as adults as long as they are comfortable. Keep in mind that smaller children cannot express discomfort and feelings of being overly tired or hot so watch them well and give them plenty of breaks.
The best time to take a dip in the thermal waters is when the weather has cooled off. There is nothing less refreshing than a dip in a thermal bath when it’s 100 degrees out. If possible, visit thermal baths during the off season, anywhere from late September to April in Tuscany.