That is the question.
First of all, let me point out that I am not the cosmopolitan gal I pretend to be. You see, last week I posted that I was going to spend a weekend at a Spa with my husband. But I have since been corrected because we were not going to a Spa but to a Terme. Okay, I have heard this word before but figured that Terme was just the Italian word for Spa, no?
No. Simply put in my place, my husband informed me that Spa’s are a dime a dozen and found everywhere, but Terme’s are special because they are only located where there are natural caves and thermal waters. Ummm, okay. Geez, have I still got a lot to learn. But with my phobia of small spaces with lots of people, are we sure this is going to be my idea of fun and relaxation?
Last time I ventured into a Tuscan cave I had a panic attack on the narrow staircase with 30 very large tourists in front of me and behind me. Perhaps this newfound phobia is more about being suffocated by fat tourists than it is about being swallowed up whole by the cavernous underbelly of Italy.
Anyways, off we went to the Terme with hopes of some relaxation and healthy waters. Located in Lucca, in the Tuscan hills, the hotel was attached to the Terme by a long underground tunnel. There was a thermal pool and of course those caves I talked about.
All in all, it was a very pleasant weekend. Certainly it was not a 5 star resort, and by my picky North American standards there was definitely room for improvement. However, for the 2 of us, 3 nights stay including all meals (they feed you to the gills with local specialties like boar and rabbit stew) and wine, we did pretty well at only 500 Euro (you pay separate for the treatments you want including entrance to the caves but the pool is free). The caves were a cool feature and I loved the calm trickle of water that echoed hauntingly off the cave walls. After you exit the cave they wrap you up like a sausage in warm blankets and serve you soapy tasting herbal tea.
Next to Bagni di Lucca you can see the centuries old abandoned hotel which is now in ruins. I had some freaky dreams the first two nights and am convinced the place is haunted which for me just added to its appeal.
I wouldn’t however, highly recommend the massages unless you like being drowned in baby oil by some masseuse that doesn’t know the meaning of “deep tissue”. After 40 minutes I finally got up the nerve to ask for a bit stronger and instead she went faster…! Pui forte! Pui forte! Capito? Apparently neither did she. Oh well.
I would for sure go back but next time I will skip the massages and go for the Fango for couples. Our friends did this and said it was great. You cover each other in mud and then hang out in a cave together. Could get messy… : )