Deep in the Tuscany Region, only a few kilometres away from Florence and Siena, lies Chianciano Terme, rich in contrasts, history and healing mineral waters. On the top of a hill overlooking the Chiana valley is Chianciano Vecchia, the old Medieval town surrounded by defensive walls; while stretching along a hillside is the Terme, Chianchiano's modern quarter, totally developed around the hot springs and full of parks, cafés and hotels
Chianciano is one of Italy’s finest health resorts, welcoming more than a million visitor every year. Sometimes called the città del fegato sano ("city of the healthy liver"),it owes its reputation to the long-known properties of its waters but also to the large number of tourism and thermal infraestrutures available: a world of hotels and villas where to stay while enjoying the waters in the Fucoli and Acqua Santa spa parks,filled with wellness centres, medical baths and thermal pools.
Archaelogical works revelead that Chianchiano's springs were known by the Etruscan as early as in the beggining of the 5th century BC, when they built a temple dedicated to the god of Good Health. Many artifacts from those times can be seen today at the Civic Archaelogical Museum Delle Acque, including bronze votive statues from the temple and the most important collection of Etruscan canopies (cinerary jars in human shape) in the world, linked to the neighbouring necropolis.
The healing waters were very popular during the Roman period, when luxurious villas and thermal baths rose up where built in the area close to the spring. Famous Roman poet Horatio visited these baths in the 1st century, and word of his cure spread around the entire Empire.
In Middle Ages, the strategic location of Chianciano as part of of the Via Francígena, the main pilgrimage route connecting Canterbury (United Kingdom) and Rome, allowed Chianciano to develop sufficiently to have its own statutes by 1287.
It was only in the first decades of the 20 th century that the Terme area of the town began to be developed, although many of the new buildings were destroyed in 1940, and redeveloped again in the 1960s.
Because of its long history, Chianciano springs are surrounded by myths and legends.
The Sillene springs, for example, is named after the Etruscan goddess of beauty and the Moon, who, according to the lenged, used to hide and baths in this springs, after her protection.
Chianciano waters come from five different springs, each with different waters used to treat different conditions. Broadly, they are all rich in bicarbonate, sulphate and calcium, and are known for cleansing the liver and general detoxification, respiratory problems, metabolic disorders and treating kidney and urinary tract problems.
The Terme di Chianciano complex strechtes along the Spa parks of Acqua Santa and Fucoli and comprise a large number of water facilities, including a research institute studying liver and heart diseases and a rehabilitation centre.
Those seeking relaxation and wellbeing should visitn the new Sensory Spa at Terme di Chianciano, a dramatic blend of new architecture and the ancient thermal springs, with treatments based on the elements - water, fire, earth, air and ether, and specially designed themed sensory trails for detoxification, rebalancing, energising and relaxation. The new Theia pools are also very popular, were the opaque waters of the Sillene spring, and are anti-inflammatory and soothing for the skin.
Away from the centre there are also the Terme Sant'Elena, built upon Chianchiano's fifth spring. This famed carbonated mineral water flowing at 13ºC is used as a drinking cure to treat kidneys and urinary tract conditions, in addition to gastro-intestinal problems.
Most of the medical water treatments in Chianciano Terme are covered by the Italian National Health Service.
Fountain at Piazza Italia, the heart of the modern Terme district
Chianciano's Civic Archaelogical Museum gathers an important collection of Etruscan and Romans finds which tell us about the long history of the spa town
Acqua Santa, one of Chianciano's most famous spring
The new thermal Theia pools, filled with water from the Sillene spring, offer top wellness experience for the whole family