More commonly known for its rolling hills of sweeping vineyards and influential historical and artistic legacies, Tuscany is also home to one of Europe’s most charming natural hot springs. Located just outside the small spa village of Saturnia, the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs offers visitors a primitive soaking experience free from the heavy crowds of the nearby resort.
Nestled within the rustic property of an old mill, the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs has been a popular thermal pool amongst local residents and visitors for millennia. It has attracted influential figures dating back to the ancient Roman Empire thanks to its therapeutic mineral concentrations and idyllic setting in the tranquil Tuscan countryside.
However, while the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs is worth the drive to this quaint Tuscan community, the region surrounding Saturnia is as historic as the thermal pools themselves. It features plenty of iconic landmarks to explore during your trip to the area.
From their mythical formation and best soaking practices to the best nearby attractions and accommodation options, this is everything you need to know before visiting the majestic Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs, Italy.
History of Cascate Del Mulino Hot Springs
The Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs has two histories the mythical and the geologic. While today we know hot springs are formed from natural springs warmed by geothermal processes beneath the earth’s surface, the region’s early inhabitants believed Saturn, the god of abundance, created the thermal pools.
According to the legend, Saturn had become frustrated with the wars of men and, in his anger, hurled a lightning bolt into a volcano crater. As the story goes, a river of hot sulfurous water poured out of the cavity left by the lightning strike, which flowed into the springs, calmed the animosities of men, and heralded a golden age dedicated to the god.
While this legendary creation of the spring may be mythological reasoning to understand the phenomena, the story did have one thing right the spring was born inside a volcanic crater. However, instead of a gift from a god, the water is sourced from several springs scattered throughout the region.
Regardless of how the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs was formed, the mineral waters of the natural pool have been enjoyed by the region’s inhabitants for thousands of years, dating back to the region’s Etruscan era. Originally called Aurinia, the town of Saturnia was renamed to honor the Roman god in 280 BC.
Visitors today continue to soak in the waters once frequented by the region’s ancient inhabitants. While soaking in the pristine mineral pools, visitors spend time in the countryside exploring remnants of the many ancient civilizations that once resided here.
Cascate Del Mulino Hot Springs Facilities
Located only minutes from the spa resort of Saturnia, the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs offers visitors a simpler thermal pool complex with free admission and minimal onsite amenities. While not as opulent, these hot springs offer a quiet soak in a surreal setting.
While the hot spring does not feature many onsite amenities or attractions, the thermal pools themselves are worth the trip to the Cascate del Mulino. Fed from an underground spring source, the thermal pools feature maintained 99.5-degree Fahrenheit temperatures throughout the year.
While the sulphuric water is renowned for its high mineral concentrations and therapeutic properties, they have also resulted in a mineral buildup of travertine walls that have given the attraction a natural aesthetic appeal with step-like soaking pools. With a natural flow rate of 500 liters per second, the pools are constantly refilled every four hours for a clean swim.
Despite the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs once being a hidden gem destination, recent popularity on social media and in magazines has made the thermal pools famous, especially during peak tourist season.
As such, winter is the best time to visit to escape the crowds, while the constant warm waters offer a comfortable escape from the chilly Tuscan weather.
A small café and snack bar are the only additional facilities near the natural thermal pool complex. During the day, the café serves a small selection of snacks and beverages to enjoy while soaking in the pool’s warm waters.
Alternatively, visitors are encouraged to bring their own food or drinks to avoid some added expense. However, visitors are asked to practice courtesy and pack up any garbage they may bring in.
Attractions Near the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs
While the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs may be the main attraction to the area, the nearby town of Saturnia and the surrounding area are teeming with historical landmarks and other inviting ways to enjoy the therapeutic properties of the spring’s mineral waters.
Terme di Saturnia
The Cascate del Mulino is the most cost-friendly and natural setting to enjoy the region’s hot springs. However, the Terme di Saturnia spa resort offers a full-service immersion into the mineral waters and is a preferred facility for visitors seeking a more catering experience.
The extensive resort features maintained soaking pools, a full-service natural spa, and even a golf course. While a more expensive option, the Terme di Saturnia is a perfect alternative for visitors seeking a more luxurious stay in Saturnia.
Museo Archeologico di Saturnia
When visiting the region, guests should stop by the Museo Archeologico di Saturnia. Home to several important artifacts in the area, visitors explore the history of the region, the role the hot springs have played across numerous civilizations, and even the lifestyles of the city’s earliest inhabitants.
Along with the museum, other historical landmarks within the countryside include the ancient walls of Saturnia and the Rocca Aldobrandesca fortress.
Accommodations Options at Cascate Del Mulino Hot Springs, Italy
As a famous spa town, Saturnia features excellent tourism infrastructure, including accommodation options for all kinds of travelers.
Guests seeking a budget-friendly hotel will want to book their stay at the Tellus Saturnia. For a reasonable rate, guests enjoy comfortable lodging with modern amenities, a continental breakfast, and a convenient location near many popular attractions.
Alternatively, guests can book their accommodation at the Agriturismo Le Cascatelle. This comfortable and accommodating mid-range hotel option is only a 10-minute walk from the Cascate del Mulino and offers one of the most appealing lodgings in the Saturnian countryside.
Luxury travelers seeking a vacation lathered in opulence will find their vacation best facilitated at the elegant Terme di Saturnia.
Getting to the Cascate Del Mulino Hot Springs, Italy
The easiest way to access the Cascate del Mulino is by car. The hot spring destination is located approximately 2 hours from Rome, while visitors arriving from Florence can expect a slightly further journey of three hours. Despite its extended timeframe, the drive is beautiful and offers several scenic vistas along Tuscany’s country roads.
With that said, visitors should arrange to spend at least one night in the region, as the thermal pools are best enjoyed in the early morning before the heavy crowds have worked their way to the site.