It all started, as things usually do, when a god got persnickety.
Saturn, in a snit because mortals were always at war with one another, went the tried and true route of divine attention-getting devices — that is, overkill — and brought order to chaos by thunderbolting all parties involved. From the resulting crater gushed forth a hot spring from deep in the earth, the torrent washing away any residual warmongering, and thus born was a new generation of people both wiser and happier. Or else.
The site shows little evidence of its dramatic creation: Basking under the Tuscan sun as much as it does the auspices of Condé Nast’s Best Medical/Thermal/Natural Spa in the World award for 2011, Terme di Saturnia — the “Baths of Saturnia” — tap the very waters Saturn used to sooth mortal tempers, if not his own. Today, Saturn’s wrath flows through a serene fairyland of manmade pools and waterfalls; to be pampered by Terme di Saturnia is to experience the 21st Century equivalent of what an ancient Roman bath would be like if the architects of old merged unrestricted opulence with unlimited budgets.
“At Terme di Saturnia, every element of nature inspires well-being,” explains Carla Milos, CEO of what is one of the leading hotels in the world. “The resort is a special place for guests to achieve inner harmony and to reawaken the senses in the discovery of new ways of regeneration.”
If you want history, you got it—the site has been a spa for 3,000 years. The resort’s fabled spring begins with rain caught on the verdant slopes of Monte Amiata, near Siena, soaking down in the Earth before geothermal heat and pressure force it to Saturnia. Reemerging at dreamy 37° C (98.6° F), and infused with precious mineral salts and gases, Saturnia’s water encourages the natural peeling of the skin and stimulates the entire body, particularly the muscles, bones, and the respiratory tract.
That’s the science (sorry, Saturn); what Terme di Saturnia does with it is when it gets fun. Combining the spring healing capabilities with a careful choice of treatments creating experiences and sensations that even Caligula would find excessive, guests can indulge their most extravagant fantasies in therapies such as the 24-carat Gold Facial (exactly what you think it is), part of the sultrily-named Blackrose Suites, a “boutique spa within a spa” that epitomizes Terme di Saturnia at its rarified best. Despite such decadence, or because of it, the resort has a solid backbone dedicated to the health of its guests.
While a vacation getaway in every sense (check out the Michelin-rated cuisine and premier golf course), several of Terme de Saturnia’s packages not only make visitors feel better, but be better. Terme de Saturnia partnered with Zerona, the world’s first non-invasive body-contouring procedure, to help guests loose weight in just one week’s time. The Shape Up Package is a customized dietary, fitness and wellness regime created by a licensed dietician and fitness trainer that can be continued at home virtually over the Internet with the dietary team.
Located in the town of Saturnia in the Maremma region of Tuscany, few landscapes are more idyllic or archetypal of the Italian countryside and the many peoples that have washed over it than where Terme de Saturnia now nestles. Etruscan necropolises, elegant Roman villas, and romantic medieval fortresses languidly emerge amid olive orchards, vineyards, and traditional cattle ranches. More over, the springs create a warm local microclimate so the resort remains comfy even as the rest of the hemisphere heads into autumn.
“Upon our guests’ departure, we hope they have a greater appreciation for their personal wellness, and have achieved a sense pure relaxation and indulgence and will take a bit of our ‘Mediterranean lifestyle’ home with them,” says Milos.
Which, in the end, is was Saturn was hoping for.