Montecatini Terme…where’s the water?


As some of my readers already know, I love Spas! In fact, I wrote a post about my top favourites which I am sure needs to be updated sometime soon because I have since visited a few more. This past week, my husband and I went to Montecatini, which is a village in Tuscany and world famous.

There are 9 dedicated buildings, all of which are historical and have thermal water, or so we thought. I booked us into a 5 star hotel, The Grand Hotel & La Pace Spa. I got a super deal on the price and was looking forward to one night of luxury and pampering for us both.

While I will say that this town is pretty, but we were very disappointed overall. To reach our hotel by car took us a ridiculous amount of time because of local construction, local only roads and one way streets. When we finally managed to arrive and unload, we headed towards the Terme Redi, to take a dip in their thermal pool only to find that they were closed until 4 p.m. We were hot, stressed and tired so we hiked back to our hotel and went for a swim in the pool there instead. No big deal except, when you travel all this way for thermal water, well, why swim in an ordinary pool?

After a relaxing poolside snooze, we dashed over to the Excelsior Terme where I had pre-booked a couples massage. All I can say about that is Meh. Then, we went for a walk through the park to see all the other famous terme buildings. Out of 9, only 1 was open to the public. Tettuccio Terme is the most photographed one and it is truly lovely. I took photos of the famous fountain and we drank thermal water (Yuk!).

The next morning we tried again at the thermal pool only to be told that they were closed in the mornings for private physiotherapy sessions so we decided to take the Funicolare up to Montecatini Alto and explore. I will post separately on this part of Montecatini later.

All in all, our hotel was very nice and so was the town, but we travelled a long way for some thermal baths and never got to even dip a toe in the water. Our five star hotel had great service but the experience didn’t quite add up to what I would call five star. The dinner was ok, but nothing special. The room was clean and sweet, but again, nothing overly special.

Would I recommend Montecatini? Well, maybe of you are passing through, it could be a nice day trip. To stay, well, I would suggest you wait several years for them to finish all the restorations and construction of the other terme before considering a longer stay. I’m by no means saying I didn’t like it there, just that I was disappointed that it didn’t have more to offer in the way of terme services. If the town is so famous for the thermal water then why do they only have one pool open with crazy hours and impossible to get into to? If I wanted a normal massage and a normal pool, well, I could have just stayed in Genoa and saved a lot of time and money.

One thing I will add here. The website was very confusing, it looked to me like the pool was in fact open the first time we went but the main entrance and reception was closed and only when we walked by the next day did I notice a second entrance towards the back of the building. 😦 Maybe we will try to go back in ten years after they have sorted it all out!
terme drinking water terme tettuccio tettuccio Excelsior fountain tettuccio birds in fountain pool at hotel Heron

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About lmarmstrong66

I'm a blogger, painter, writer, singer. For the love of all things in nature and creativity.
This entry was posted in Italian Culture, Nature, Tourists, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Montecatini Terme…where’s the water?

  1. Diana says:

    I love the terme too! Have you been to Saturnia?? Loved it there!

  2. Kate says:

    Ciao Leah,

    Interesting update about Montecatini. While I only visited for just the day, about 10 years ago, I also found the (lower) town and spa area crowded and confusing. Too bad things have not changed much. As you say, maybe it will be better in another 10 years…
    If you don’t know it already, here is a place you might like – a small spa in an interesting quiet valley of Tuscany http://www.termesangiovanni.it/it/index.html I have only gone for the day to enjoy the thermal pools…views from which are really beautiful.
    Perhaps closer to you is http://www.grottagiustispa.com/ita/piscina_termale.htm
    They offer a reduced evening entrance (to thermal pool) for sunset swims in the summer.

    Visiting these places mid-week is best if you can swing it, to avoid crowds of stressed-out weekenders.
    Buone avventure…

    • Hi Kate, I’ve been to Rapolano, but it was during the xmas holidays so although it was nice, there were too many people. We usually try and go mid-week but that is not always possible because of my job. Thanks for the links. I will check out the other one next time we go to Tuscany 🙂

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