Fancy escaping to one of Italy’s luxurious thermal spas?

Promotional feature with Italian Tourist Board

With its natural thermal springs, stylish spa hotels and breathtaking scenery, Italy is the perfect place to holiday this autumn…

Whether you’re dreaming of a holiday where calming treatments and peaceful relaxation will be your main priorities, a romantic trip with your partner or a pampering weekend away with friends, nowhere celebrates spa life quite like Italy.

With natural hot springs, impressive spa menus and stunning landscapes, it’s the perfect place for a health-boosting, relaxing retreat at any time of year.

Of course, Italy is famous for its food, so eating healthily is easy too. Whether you dine at organic farms or stay at a spa hotel with its own specialist chef on hand, you’ll feel healthy inside and out…

1. Emilia Romagna, northern Italy


One of the most fertile regions of Italy, Emilia-Romagna is home to 26 glorious spas in beautiful countryside.

In the dreamy setting of Villaggio della Salute Piu in the Bologna Appenines, the Terme dell’Agriturismo (above) ticks all the boxes for a natural spa. Stay in one of the restored farmhouses scattered through the estate, enjoy its restorative thermal pools, health and beauty massages and mud treatments, and savour the delicious traditional cuisine at the Restaurant Sillaro.

At Rimini you’ll find Riminiterme – the only spa in the region to offer thalassotherapy. South of the city centre is the stunning Riccione Terme, which offers natural hot springs and spice-infused treatments, such as a saffron massage.

2. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, northeast Italy

In the northeast, Friuli Venezia Giulia borders Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea. It’s home to the sharp-peaked Dolomites and vineyards famed for producing delicious white wines.

At 442 metres above sea level, close to Tolmezzo, the Terme di Arta is a magical thermal spa with a modern wellness centre that makes the most of the therapeutic waters from the nearby spring, which works wonders on muscular aches and pains and soothes skin. From thermal water and mud treatments to physiotherapy, it’s a blissful choice for restorative rest and relaxation.

Head south, towards Trieste, and you’ll discover the Portopiccolo Spa by Bakel (above). Offering marvellous views of the Adriatic sea, hot spring pools, saunas and a soothing salt cave, this luxurious spa will leave you feeling utterly zen.

3. Lombardy, northern Italy

Head north from Milan, the buzzing capital of this region, and you’ll find yourself in a landscape of rolling hills, lakes and world-class spas. One of the best in the area is the Aquaria Thermal SPA, which sits in the pretty resort town of Sirmione and overlooks the spectacular Lake Garda.

Take a morning swim in the fresh water swimming pools, then relax in the heat of the indoor saunas and steam baths before enjoying the hydromassage tub with water jets at different intensities. It’s pure paradise.

For a spot of mountain air, try Bormio, one of the region’s key thermal towns. At Bagni Nuovi you’ll be spoilt for choice with seven outdoor pools and cutting-edge spa facilities; while its neighbour, Bagni Vecchi (above), offers Roman baths, plus a grotto leading to a thermal spring and an impressive infinity pool.

4. Ischia in Campania, southern Italy

A short ferry ride from Naples will take you to the beautiful island of Ischia, where you’ll find natural spas, glorious beaches and volcanic mud.

Want five-star treatment? Lacco Ameno is peppered with luxury hotels but the showstopper has to be Albergo della Regina Isabella (above), which offers just about every treatment imaginable from hydro massage to 1-2-1 motivational sessions designed to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Oh, and whatever you do, don’t leave Ischia without a trip to the Poseidon Thermal Gardens. You can easily spend an entire day there – slowly working your way around the 20 thermal pools dotted around manicured gardens. They vary in temperature and there’s a stunning natural steam grotto, too. After you’ve warmed up, jump into a cold plunge pool to stimulate your body and boost your circulation.

5. Tuscany, central Italy

Hot, mineral rich springs bubble out of the ground throughout the Tuscan countryside.

The largest spa complex in Italy, Montecatini Terme has seven spas. Terme Tettuccio was originally built in the 18th century and renovated in 1919, thanks to a boom in thermal bathing at that time, so you’ll see stunning examples of Art Nouveau architecture. Treatments cover everything from thermal therapies to massages, steam inhalation and mud packs.

Looking for modern luxury? Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort (above) is top-notch hotel and spa with its own hot spring where water flows at 37°C. Whether you want to bathe in the thermal pools all day, play golf on the superb 18-hole golf course, head out on mountain bikes or a horse-riding excursion, this magical resort has thought of it all.

With so much to choose from, only two questions remain – where and when…

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