and I would like to share my vacations with Ganzo. Here I am back from my short but busy holiday in Tuscany, a region I love. I don’t know why but this land has always had a kind of “magic” charm on me, I probably lived there – intensely – one of my previous lives! This is the reason why every now and then I feel the desire to return there, actually more than a desire it is a need. Therefore, after a brief planning (1 day!) we packed and left: main destination the beautiful Terme di Saturnia. The trip itself is a holiday, so why losing the opportunity to visit new places along the way that leads us to the Terme? The first leg is the Lago di Corbara, in Umbria, an artificial lake formed after the building of the dam on the Tevere river. Not really a touristic place, but still interesting for its wild nature. After a short restoring break under an oak tree we drive through an unusual road to reach Orvieto, an ancient city of Etruscan era, situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. Very nice and picturesque, with several monuments among which the Duomo and the Pozzo di San Patrizio ( St. Patrick’s Well ).
Returning to the parking lot we see an unusual means of transport: the Funicolare di Orvieto ( Funicular of Orvieto ), a historic means of transport which connects, in about 2 minutes, Orvieto to its train station. Obviously we do not lose the opportunity of a ride!
Resuming the journey, brief return in the Lazio region and stopped at Lago di Bolsena ( Lake Bolsena ), already seen many times but always fascinating in its breadth: it is about a third the size of Rome.
Lazio left we finally enter in Tuscany. The road crosses Pitigliano, a charming town of the Tufo Area. The town is one of the most beautiful of Tuscany, but the timetable does not allow us to stop: we will be back later.
After the last half hour of our journey here is that, suddenly, after a curve, appear to our eyes the stunning Cascate del Mulino ( Mill Falls ) of the Terme di Saturnia.
Looking forward to diving in the sulphurous water the next day, we reach the farmhouse where we have booked accommodation in the village of Saturnia.
Mrs. Donatella greets us with the usual kindness, typically Tuscan and after a brief stop we reach a promising restaurant spotted earlier. There are many typical local dishes, it is enough to mention as an example the famous “soups” or “pici” for first course and the Bistecca alla Fiorentina ( T-bone ) for second course, a search on the Internet provides extensive detail. After a quiet night spent in the room overlooking the Tuscan countryside, under a beautiful starry sky, we woke up early to enjoy a strictly organic and locally produced breakfast. The desserts are prepared daily by Mrs. Donatella and her mother, as are homemade the jams and honey. Milk, cheese and ham come from organic producers in the area. Of course, we should taste EVERYTHING and we can hardly get up from the table to reach the Terme di Saturnia following specific directions of Mrs. Donatella. There are two possibilities: the Wellness Centre with its thermal swimming pools with entrance fee or the Cascate del Mulino, with free access and this was our choice: we prefer wildlife!
The Terme di Saturnia have a continuous spring of sulphurous water at 37 degrees or so. You choose your personal “bath” and just relax!
After a refreshing dip in the swimming pool of the farmhouse is a must a tour into the Tuscan countryside: it is wonderful, especially at sunset and a short downpour of rain gives us a rainbow.
After dinner at another excellent restaurant, night visit to the village of Saturnia, where, perhaps because of the nearby necropolis, you may have ghostly encounters without having to travel to Bourbon Street!
The third day destination Monte Argentario. After about an hour’s drive you can reach one of the two main towns: Porto Ercole.
After a swim in a beautiful Cala ( Cove )
we walk up to the Rocca Spagnola ( Spanish Fortress ). Do not go there on Wednesdays, otherwise you’ll find it closed as happened to us!
An extensive sightseeing tour of beautiful coves and cliffs overhanging the sea brings us to another town, Porto Santo Stefano.
The next day, reluctantly, we leave to go home but the return trip is an opportunity to visit other picturesque places.
Near Saturnia is the Necropoli Etrusca del Puntone ( Etruscan necropolis of the strut ).
Sovana is a beautiful medieval village steeped in history. Among the places of interest to visit the Duomo and the Rocca Aldobrandesca, without neglecting the local handicraft and its creations in Tuff Stone.
Finally, on the way back, we can visit Pitigliano,
also called the Little Jerusalem for the historical presence of a Jewish community. The walk in the historical center of this town, built on an outcrop of tuff, is certainly interesting but it is with a visit to the Synagogue, with an adjoining museum, which becomes very significant.
Just as it is suggestive to visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery of Bolsena, the last stage of our brief but intense holiday, of which remain pictures and this story.
And the emotions that are here, in my heart; I hope I was able to pass on to you who have come to the end of my brief article, as well as curiosity about these beautiful places.
Two words for your readers: a further research on the internet will provide YOU with all the details that could not be inserted for reasons of space, so, do not be lazy, be an explorer and go, go go and enjoy.
Ciao! Antonello Bartolomeo
Translation by Mila D’Alessandro
All photos by Antonello Bartolomeo