Taking the waters in Tuscany

<p>While many travel to Tuscany to indulge their passion for fine wines, I went for the water. Not to drink it, but to soak, swim and steam in it.</p>


Spa guests soak up the benefits of local thermal pools



Adeler thermae spa resort


A guest soaks in an outdoor mineral pool at Adler Thermae Spa Resort.

While many travel to Tuscany to indulge their passion for fine wines, I went for the water. Not to drink it, but to soak, swim and steam in it.

Visiting the region to take the waters is all about health, and it’s been going on since long before people began travelling here to partake of the grape.

Embraced by Tuscany’s signature golden hills dotted with statuesque cypress, Adler Thermae Spa Resort is a three-year-old facility with a focus on wellness and relaxation. The theme is set from the moment you check in. Along with your room key, you also pick up a robe, two towels and slippers, which can be exchanged for fresh supplies daily.

It’s Sunday when I arrive, and the lobby is busy with check-ins including families with children. The philosophy, I’m told, is to cater to a younger clientele including young parents.

anne dimon/for metro toronto

The thermal springs of Bagna Vignoni, a tiny town that’s a three-minute walk away from Adler Thermae, have been enjoyed by wellness-seeking visitors since Roman times.

The thermal pools — both indoors and out — are the heart of the resort and where guests spend the majority of time. They soak up the therapeutic benefits of the mineral-heavy waters, then relax on lounge chairs just as they might at a Caribbean resort.

adler thermae spa restort

A view from the hotel’s interior encompasses an outdoor mineral pool and Tuscan countryside.

There is no swim-up bar, but there is fresh fruit, teas made from local herbs and mineral water available from a self-serve area. Along with pools, there’s a collection of saunas, steam rooms (for detox and stress release) and a variety of relaxation areas including a quiet space with water beds for napping.

While robes must be worn around the spa and pool area, there is no such rule in the saunas or steam rooms. If you want to wrap a towel around yourself — no problem, but go with the expectation that other bodies may be towel-free.

Those same bodies are often also grabbing quick ice-cold showers both before and after a sauna or steam, so if the thought of nude folks jumping in and out of showers, steam rooms and saunas is uncomfortable, this may not be the place for you.

Adeler thermae spa resort

Adler Thermae also offers a range of fitness activities including yoga and Tai Chi, as well as a full gym.

So that guests don’t get bored or prune-like, there are also out-of-water activities and experiences. A variety of daily fitness classes, yoga, Tai Chi, plus a full gym where you can pump iron or hit the treadmill while overlooking the hills of Tuscany are a few of the things that will help flush out this wellness vacation.

Of course, there’s an extensive selection of spa treatments and services. Mixed in with the facials, massages, body wraps and water therapies, you’ll find that you can book diagnostic sessions with the resident Dr. Thomas Platzer, who has designed and supervises the wellness programs. You can arrange for a medical check-up, a food intolerance test, even a blood analysis.

Grotta Salina, an underground salt bath, is one of the unique water therapies at Adler Thermae.

Signature treatments incorporating local products are on the menu too. I tried the Olive Oil Body Wrap, which ended with the therapist handing me a small bowl of olives to nosh on during the recommended 20 minutes of “relax time” that follows each treatment.

And just because you go for the water doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wine. Dinners are multi-course gourmet meals complemented by an extensive list of local wines.

adler thermae

Adler Thermae is a spa resort where food is meant to be enjoyed — gourmet meals and local wines are available.

  • Adler Thermae offers four and seven-night all-inclusive wellness packages. For more information, visit www.adler-thermae.com.

  • In addition to the range of activities available at the spa resort, there are also scheduled outings such as guided hikes, bike tours and visits to towns such as Montalcino, which is famous for its Brunello wines.

  • The resort’s pool-scape setting is also just a short stroll from the ancient village of Bagno Vignoni, where the ancient Romans once came to seek wellness by soaking in the town’s natural mineral pool.

  • While Adler Thermae’s philosophy is to cater to a younger clientele including young parents, children are not allowed in the spa or steam and sauna area. The resort offers a full-day kids’ program.

Anne Dimon is a spa and wellness travel writer and founder/editor of www.traveltowellness.com