A famous aquatic piazza and an itinerary that leads to ancient mills nestled in the Val d’Orcia hills: discovering the Bagno Vignoni thermal springs
Bagno Vignoni is a symbol of the Val d’Orcia, an almost obligatory destination for spa and nature tourism along the ancient Via Francigena.
Life in the tiny village centres round the charming Piazza delle Sorgenti, made up entirely by a large bath of sulphurous water, which over the years has become a symbol of this area and on many occasions has also been used as a film set. The characteristic roads surrounding the square provide quaint corners and incredible views that are a dream for all photographers – though the bath is obviously the undisputed protagonist.
Il minuscolo borgo prende vita intorno alla suggestiva Piazza delle Sorgenti occupata interamente dalla piscina termale di BagnoVignoni, una grande vasca di acqua sulfurea, che negli anni è diventata un simbolo di questa zona e in diverse occasioni set cinematografico. Le caratteristiche stradine che circondano la piazza le regalano scorci e angolazioni da fotografare, di cui ovviamente la vasca è assoluta protagonista.
Not far from the centre of the village, you can venture out along a short path following the water courses that spring from the bath and flow towards ancient reservoirs. The streams that flow along the walls and rocky lands create grooves and small waterfalls, naturally outlining a path that leads towards the Parco naturale dei Mulini.
The four medieval-era mills have two unique characteristics: not only, in fact, were they dug out of the rock rather than constructed, but importantly they were the only ones able to work during the summer, when dry rivers impeded the functioning of the other man-made ones. The mills of Bagno Vignoni boasted a strategic position allowing them a constant thermal current, which did not wane during the summer. The only problem that the workers had to deal with was the temperature of the spring – around 50°C.
The flatter and easier return path leads visitors back to the piazza, where you are free to relax and enjoy a bath in one of the full-service thermal structures of Bagno Vignoni. As well as the Parco dei Mulini there are also some free baths, just bear in mind that these waters are not as hot as those in the resorts, as the source is further away. In both cases, it is exciting to think that you are bathing in the same waters that the likes of Lorenzo De’ Medici used to bathe in centuries ago.
Perpetually enveloped by the light mist that rises from the piazza of hot water, Bagno Vignoni is a magical place in a UNESCO World Heritage land; a one-of-a-kind village which, together with Bagni San Filippo can be defined as a thermal jewel of the Val d’Orcia’s hot springs.
You can complete your tour with a visit to Vignoni Alto: the village is just a few minutes by car from the thermal area and can also be reached by foot along the Via Francigena. The castle and tower dominate the valley and give visitors an incomparable view over the countryside, a breath-taking panorama framed by the beautiful, iconic medieval gate.
L’ingresso al Parco dei Mulini di bagno Vignoni è gratuito.