One of Tuscany’s most unique landscapes hides among the hills, lies beneath a tiny village and holds a breathtaking secret. Get off the beaten path to the edge of Val d’Orcia and bathe your worries away in the stunning natural Tuscany hot springs of Bagni San Filippo.
From how to get there and what to bring to must-know tips for having the best visit possible, discover all the information you need to know before you go in this guide.
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About Bagni San Filippo
Bagni San Filippo is a small village nestled between the world famous Val d’Orcia and Monte Amiata in southern Tuscany.
The thermal baths are called the Bagni di San Filippo, and the area dates back to Roman times. The pools flourished during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a favorite of Florence’s reigning Medici family.
It stands out from other Tuscany hot springs because of the Fosso Bianco, a huge limestone formation from which comes the warmest waters of the springs, up to 48°C. Its blue-white coloring, which can also change depending on the season, stands out from the surrounding forest.
How to Reach Bagni San Filippo
The only comfortable and feasible way to reach Bagni San Filippo is by renting a car and driving. (Check out my driving in Italy guide!)
The drive is fairly easy: the roads are well-maintained and very scenic, so you’ll be getting off the highways and immersing yourself in Tuscan nature.
There is lots of free parking around Bagni San Filippo. The spots closest to the area where you go down to the hot springs are parallel parking spots on a hill, so you have to be very careful about control. They are also paid parking.
Personally, I recommend taking a couple extra minutes to walk further and park in the large free, flat parking lot or one of the flat side streets.
Pro Tip: Paid parking in Italy is indicated by parking spots outlined in blue. Parking spots outlined in white mean parking there is free. Yellow parking spots are for residents only.
By public transportation
Even though it is challenging and time-consuming, you can reach Bagni San Filippo by public transportation.
I would only recommend this option if Bagni San Filippo is high up on your bucket list and you are willing to endure the 3+ bus rides it takes to get there!
First things first, you have to reach the Chiusi-chianciano Terme train station. This is not a major train station, so it is likely that only regional trains will be passing through.
To give you an idea of distances from Tuscany’s most popular cities, a direct train from Siena or Florence takes about an hour and a half.
From the station, you will then have to embark on a journey of minimum three buses for a total journey time of 2 hours and 40 minutes. The first is FT4 heading to Montepulciano. Get off in Montepulciano, head to the Opposta S. Biagio bus stop and get on the 112 to Buonconvento. Last but not least, get off at the San Quirico Via dei Fossi stop and take Bus 54A toward Abbadia S.S. – Largo Verdi and get off at Bagni San Filippo-Bv. Campiglia.
I highly recommend following this using Google Maps so you can locate the bus stops and have live updates on bus times. Make sure you have a SIM card in Italy so you have access to data roaming.
Best Time to Visit Bagni San Filippo
The best months to visit Bagni San Filippo are March, April and September. The thermal water is not the freshest experience in the middle of summer, but you also don’t want to go in the peak of winter or rainy season.
And if you are trying to avoid crowds, you will have to take into account the best time to visit Bagni San Filippo during the day. Arrive as early as sunrise for the least amount of people. This is the best time especially for photographers wanting to get an epic shot of the Fosso Bianco.
9 Travel Tips for Visiting Bagni San Filippo
1. Arrive Early
Like most attractions in Italy, the best time to visit Bagni San Filippo is early morning before all the other tourists and locals who discover this hidden gem show up.
This is not only the best time to enjoy the thermal pools in privacy, but also if you would like to photograph the pools.
If you are interested in taking photos, there are already some limitations to shooting due to the heavy forestry around the springs and the close proximity of the path to the salt mineral walls (the most photographable area of the hot springs).
This only gets more complicated when you add lots of visitors into the mix. I arrived around midday because of how our itinerary was structured and I would have been happier with my photos if there was less people and more even lighting.
Pro Tip: Since the thermal baths are completely natural, there is no opening/closing time, so you can arrive or stay for as long as you want.
2. Entry is absolutely free
One of the best parts about the springs being all natural is that there is no entrance fee to visit them. It is a completely budget-friendly activity that works for all kinds of travelers: couples, families, photographers and solo travelers alike.
3. Bring water shoes and towels
Time to pack for your visit to Bagni San Filippo? Water shoes and towels are a must.
The pools are slippery and the area around the pools is very muddy, so I would recommend water shoes to anyone.
You will also need to bring your own towels since there is no local place from which to rent or buy them.
If you plan on taking a dip, you will obviously need your swimsuit. However, I recommend bringing one of your less favorite swimsuits since the pools are full of mineral-rich mud and you could end up getting dirty!
Bring water and snacks if you are staying a long time. There are restaurants in the village, but I find that, being such a natural activity, it makes for the perfect area to enjoy some light snacks or a picnic in nature.
4. Keep in mind accessibility
You have to take a slightly steep path down to the thermal pools because they are nestled in a small wooded valley.
I do not believe wheelchairs or electric scooters would be able to travel this terrain, especially once arriving at the springs, where the path becomes all natural and wooded, meaning uneven surfaces everywhere.
Walking around the pools is not difficult, but it is not easy either. You have to be okay with walking up and down on uneven surfaces. Plus, there is the mud to consider!
5. Be aware of the mud
One of the things that surprised me the most about visiting these Tuscany hot springs was the amount of mud surrounding the pools.
Besides one or two handmade wooden bridges and a small fenced area, there is practically no infrastructure here. So, the whole area is natural, which leads you to be at the mercy of the elements!
The walking path around the pools is not only very muddy but also slippery and full of roots and branches. To add some more challenges, the path is hilly!
It is by no means a difficult or hard path, but it just requires that you pay extra attention to where you are walking so you don’t slip and end up a muddy mess!
6. Pick a spot near the Fosso Bianco for deeper pools
The thermal waters vary in temperature and depth according to which pool you are in. You can stop at the first pool you see or continue walking down the valley until you find an area you like.
Typically, the further you go down, the less crowded the pools will be and you will have the opportunity to find deeper pools.
But once area that I think is a must-stop if you visit Bagni San Filippo thermal springs is the Fosso Bianco.
The Fosso Bianco, or Balena Bianca, which means White Whale, is this huge wall of limestone and calcium surrounded by waterfalls. The water around this area can reach up 48°C. You shouldn’t walk on the rock formation, not only because of the high-temperature water but also because the minerals are soft, making it dangerous to tread on!
7. Bathe in the rich mineral water
Bathing in the thermal springs of Bagni San Filippo is a natural spa experience.
One of the reasons it is so loved is for the thermal mud that contains tons of natural minerals, which are great for the skin. You will see tons of people rubbing their bodies and faces with mud to enjoy the purifying benefits!
Another thing that surprised me about my visit was the smell. You can’t tell through the photos, but the perfume of the thermal pools is not so sweet!
The pools have a high concentration of sulfur, which means it gives off a kind of rotten egg smell. If you can get past that, then you will have no problem enjoying a dip.
9. Dogs are not allowed in the water
You can bring your dog to the thermal springs but it is not allowed to enter the pools. I personally would skip the attraction if traveling with a dog just because it can get messy and, if the dog is a water-loving, active dog, I see this activity as very limiting.
10. Have a post-bathing plan
The Bagni San Filippo are all natural thermal baths and, therefore, you will not find any public facilities around the attraction.
There is not public bathroom, shower station, or changing room. There are facilities in town (hotels, restaurants, etc.) but most often, you will not be allowed to use any of its amenities without staying or eating there.
So, with this in mind, have a post-bathing plan in place. Definitely bring towels to wipe off but perhaps even more important, bring some extra bottles of water so you can give yourself a mini shower to get rid of any mud.
What’s Near Bagni San Filippo
San Quirico d’Orcia
Bagni San Filippo is at the edge of Tuscany’s stunning Val d’Orcia. Here, you will find Tuscany’s most iconic landscapes, where you can find beautiful cypress trees and the most remote and romantic agriturismo.
San Quirico d’Orcia, one of the main areas of the Val d’Orcia is just a 25-minute drive from Bagni San Filippo. Don’t miss out on “I cipressini”, one of the most photographed spots in Tuscany.
Pienza is one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. Home to Pope Pius II, there are many historical monuments that pay homage to him.
It is also one of the most scenic towns in Tuscany thanks to the Via dell’Amore, a long board walk on the outskirts of the hillside town that provides sweeping views of the Val d’Orcia.
Bagno Vignoni is a small village located just 20 minutes away from Bagni San Filippo. Here, thermal baths again are the main event. You will find several pools as well as little canals where you can just dip your feet in.
The village is tiny yet beautiful. If you had to visit just one hot springs, I would suggest Bagni San Filippo or Saturnia because the springs have a bit less of an aesthetic impact – there’s no huge Fosso Bianco wall or cute rustic farmhouse.
You can’t talk about Tuscan thermal springs without talking about Saturnia.
The Saturnia hot springs, located further south in Tuscany, have become much more famous than Bagni San Filippo thanks to social media.
Saturnia is a bit cleaner, but Bagni San Filippo is more natural and wild. What are the best hot springs to visit in Tuscany?
If you want a more “adventurous” hot spring, I suggest Bagni San Filippo. If, instead, you are looking for more of a relaxing, rustic hot spring, I suggest visiting Saturnia.
The SGTD Take
Bagni San Filippo is an interesting, unique landscape compared to Tuscany’s world famous hillsides. I personally would not spend an entire day at Bagni San Filippo because there is not much to do but sit and soak up the mineral waters – and I am not even sure how long you should do that for.
Bagni San Filippo, to me, is the perfect bonus spot on a Tuscany itinerary. Go there, swim a bit if you have an hour or two to spare, experience the unique landscape and then head on to visit some of Tuscany’s most beautiful villages, where there is objectively more to see and do. That’s my take.
Have a question about visiting these thermal springs? Let me know in the comments.
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If you venture out to Bagni San Filippo, let me know how your visit goes.