People sitting in pools of the hot springs in Tuscany's Bagni San Filippo in Val d'Orcia

Meet the big white whale in Bagni San Filippo
Natural hot springs in Tuscany's Val d'Orcia

Bagni San Filippo, Tuscany/Italy (2017)Imagine that: You are in Val d'Orcia which truly equals paradise. You are totally exhausted only from enjoying the landscape all day long through the finder of your camera. Your right index finger had started to cramp up long before sunset, pressing 
the shutter release every ten seconds for the last ten hours might have been too much for the delicate pointer. All your leg muscles are hard as rocks, they hurt and seem to beg you for
some form of relief, but most of all, they seem to refuse to do some more work. And finally
your heart beat is still up high and won't settle down, too exciting is everything you still observe
and too great is the fear you won't stop running around for another while. And there it is all
of the sudden, right in front of you, everything your whole body was longing for the last hours,
the prospect of a hot bath, of pure relaxation. Right in the middle of a forest lure natural pools filled with thermal water of hot springs. You are invited to jump right in, never mind the smell.
You've arrived at Bagni San Filippo, one step closer to real paradise.
Relaxing hot water with a touch of rotten egg smell
Tuscany is full of hot water springs and not only since yesterday. Romans and Etruscans already made good use of the natural warm water coming out of Mother Earth in this part of Italy. The hot springs of Bagni San Filippo are more or less still a secret. Well not really, because I was able to find them and so did many others. But compared to the springs overrun by tourists and locals the Bagni San Filippo hot springs are still a well-kept secret  – so far. Maybe also because they are a little bit hidden and to get there is slightly harder than to approach a gas station on the highway. With other words, once you actually stand in front of the natural hot water pools, you for sure deserve to jump right in because you've traveled by car some windy roads, you might have asked a few times for directions and at the end, you've walked through the forest to reach this natural wonder.
Bagni San Filippo is located within the "Parco Artistico Naturale Culturale della Val d'Orcia" and only about 15 minutes away by car from the cities Pienza and San Quirico. Be prepared to meet the "White Whale" ("Balena Bianca"), an incredible massive calcium formation with waterfall, more or less the most impressive sight, here. With the right balance, you can even climb up the whale and find a little hot water pool in airy heights. But not any less impressive are the many colorful hot water pools (48 degrees C.) along the pathway through the forest. As further you enter the forest as more private the pools become. If you are not into hot baths but still looking for a relaxing refreshment: some of the pools deeper in the forest are filled with cooler water, since the hot water of the springs in some areas mix with the cold fresh water of the river running through the forest. Just go deeper in the forest and stick your toes in the pools to check the temperature, you'll find the pool which fits best.
Even though nothing seems better than to just lay in one of the pools in the forest after sunset and enjoying the hot water for as long as your body can take it, it comes with a price though. No, not money, the access to the hot springs of Bagni San Filippo and the many natural pools surprisingly are free of charge, the price you pay is the smell you carry with you after you have enjoyed the relaxing bath. The sulfur in the hot water gives you the rotten egg smell so make sure you can have a shower afterward and before you will enter civilization again.


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