After walking around Lucca and Pisa the previous day, we decided a car trip was in order to rest, relax and see the countryside. We started out driving to Montecarlo looking for wineries or vineyards. After hearing stories that you could taste wine on the roadside, we were ready to try our hand at it….it didn’t work. While there was breathtaking scenery along the way, we did not find any roadside tastings. We did find a small winery we stopped at and got a couple of 4 Euro bottles of wine.
Taking the trip as a failure, even though it really wasn’t, we decided to head to a place that I had read about in other blogs. Saturnia. The awesome free hot springs. After driving for about an hour I noticed I could just barely see water and the GPS confirmed we were right by a beach. We pulled off at the next exit and headed to the beautiful town of San Vincenzo.
We paid for parking at a parking lot on the beach and spend the next 45 minutes walking along and enjoying the views. San Vincenzo is a beautiful beach town and I would highly recommend at least stopping by on your Italy travels. It was too cold for a swim so we meandered back to the car and headed on towards Saturnia.
We followed the GPS for quite a ways, sometimes getting very worried we were severely lost. We drove down dirt roads, around winding roads and climbing really steep hills, but after three hours we finally looked down on the Saturnia hot springs….and cringed. From the top of the hill looking down there was not a bare spot. It was completely packed.
I was devastated. I had dragged Drew out to the middle of nowhere to be in the middle of a huge crowd, which honestly neither one of us appreciate. We drove by the hot springs and into the town of Saturnia and fell in love with the extremely small town. We sat eating bread from the bakery talking about what we were going to do about the hot springs. I still wanted to stop by to at least see them, so we threw our shoulders back and prepared to face the crowds.
And crowded it was. Not as bad as it looked from the top of the hill, but still packed. We got there late enough that we could park in the parking lot without having to pay and walking down through the crowds was a little tough but we made it to the bottom and looked back at the beauty. Well it would have been beautiful if all the people, or even half the people weren’t there. Drew being a good sport said not to worry we would just find a great spot to watch the sunset over the Tuscan hills, but I was still a little sad. I had really wanted to soak in the hot springs…even if it was just for a minute.
We took some pictures and walked around a little then headed back up the hill. At the top of the Saturnia springs there is a bridge where the water comes pouring out with such force that it pushes people down, but what was on the other side of the bridge? As I walked up towards the road that was my question. I shot a quick “do you trust me?” question to Drew and darted across the street to find a small very hidden trail. We walked along the weeds for about two minutes and then there was a break in the vegetation and beautiful blue water looked back at us. Beautiful, blue and empty. After sticking our toes into the water (yes in a roadside ditch) we quickly changed into our swimsuits and jumped in.
I will prewarn you the current is very strong. We had to hold onto the dirt wall while we soaked in peaceful quietness with awesome views. This was definitely worth it and yet another example of what taking the road less traveled can get you. We spent a good hour in the roadside ditch and it was amazing. The picture on the left is the view we were able to enjoy while we were soaking.
So a few quick notes about the ditch. Definitely a place to go if you don’t like crowds however there is not any mud in this area. I noticed quite a few people putting mud on their face at the falls area, however the ditch’s bottom is covered with rocks. Be careful getting in. The current is very strong and it will shock you the first time you go to sit and you end up pretty far away from the spot you were trying to sit. Enjoy!!!!
We finished out our road trip day watching the sunset in the Tuscan hills. Some pictures of the sunset and the views are below.