Bad Bath?

January 29, 2009 / Places
Bagnaccio, Viterbo

Here’s a free way to take in the therapeutic sulfur baths people spend so much money on in terme (hot springs) all over Italy… and see some “Etruscan” ruins on the way.

On the Via Cassia from Viterbo to Montefiascone, turn left at the sign toward Marta. In another 1.1km take a left on Strada Garinei, a strada bianca (white road, meaning bumpy dirt road). Continue until you see a group of people in the middle of a field sitting in water.

bagnaccio2This time, we’re in Bagnaccio (literally Bad Bath) on the outskirts of Viterbo. Contrary to its name, it’s an oasis. While managed by the locals almost as a quasi-private club, as many of the terme in the area are, we don’t think they’d drive you away if you drove up and wanted to climb in.

A sign tells us the spring is made up of a complex mixture of thermal alkaline sulfur bicarbonate. We’re amazed that there is no smell, and when we peer down into the stream, the white chalky substance that sits below the clear water denotes a veritable smorgasborg of beneficial minerals. Don’t forget to wear your bathing suit!

On the way out, stop on the side of the road to take a few more photos of the ancient structures that may be Etruscan. People who live in this area love to say things are from the Etruscan period, but that means 2,000 years or more, so we’re not going to stick our necks out.


Evanne Brandon-Diner

by Evanne Brandon-Diner

Chronicler of local village life in Northern Lazio, and property restoration and purchasing consultant.

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