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Relax in Montecatini's thermal baths

by Marcello Parmeggiani last modified 2008-06-20 15:10

Do you come home from holiday more tired than when you left? Maybe you should follow in the illustrious footsteps of Verdi, Orson Welles and Princess Grace and take some time out in the delightful spa resort of Montecatini.

MontecatiniWe're still in Tuscany, right in the middle of an area called Valdinievole, which, up until the 1300s was a disease-ridden swamp. The land, which has since been reclaimed, is one of the richest resources of the region. Montecatini is a spa resort and all of the town seems to have been planned to be in harmony with nature. Visitors can relax with a stroll around the parks which surround the town's thermal baths. There are nine in all - Tettuccio, Excelsior, Regina, Salute, Tamerici, Redi, Torretta, Leopoldine and Grocco - once the haunt of world-famous musicians the likes of Verdi, Rossini, Leoncavallo, Puccini and Mascagni. Treat yourself to a day at the baths: LIT 20,000 for a full day's relaxation.

If you happen to look north you'll notice the old town of Montecatini Alto, which dates back to before the year 1000. Take the trip up to the town in the original cable-car, complete with wooden seats and still in perfect running order after 150 years. Feeling sporty? Why not give the cable-car a miss and walk up the hill? You may prefer a trip to Montecatini's race track, a sporting landmark in the town, or, if you're lucky go along to support the local basketball team, which to the delight of all, plays in Italy's Serie A.

PaduleChoose from one of the wide selection of hotels on offer and then grab an early night as tomorrow we're off to Padule di Fucecchio, a natural reserve which is renowned for its birdwatching facilities. Padulle, and nearby Lake Sibolla, are just two of the protected reserves which account for 8% of the total area of Tuscany making it one of Italy's most environment friendly regions - a refuge for both man and beast in these polluted times.

Montecatini - - Visit one of Italy's most famous spa resorts.
Padule di Fucecchio - - A guide to this little-known sanctuary.

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