Bagno Vignoni, the thermal station that has been known since Medieval times for its celebrated piazza d’acqua. On the slope that leads towards the river, you’ll find the Parco dei Mulini — interesting park that bears witness to plumbing constructions and techniques that were invented in medieval times.
Bagno Vignoni is a small spa of medieval origin, although it was already know in Roman times. Bagno Vignoni sits on a hill above the Val d'Orcia just south of San Quirico. The fascinating tiny village is clustered around a large pool closed on three sides by the town walls, whith water that flows at 52°. The pool essentially fills the square, surrounded by a 1.5 metre-high wall on three sides. All around are buildings designed by Bernardo Rossellino in honour of Pope Pius II, while on the fourth side is the archway from which St. Catherine of Siena admired the view. This place also fascinated Lorenzo il Magnifico of the Medici family, who spent part of 1490 here. The old Francigena road passes near the village, and as the diary written in 1581 by Michel de Montagne confirms, pilgrims and travellers heading toward Rome frequently stopped in Bagno Vignoni to find comfort in its hot springs.
In 1677 the Gran Duke Cosimo III enfeoffed St. Quirico d’Orcia to Cardinal Flavio Chigi, together with the lilttle villages of Vignoni and Bagno Vignoni; the thermal establishment, together with three mills, eight houses, a tavern and a certain amount of land thus passed into the hands of the Chigi family and their discendents to whom a part still remains in property.
Nowadays Bagno Vignoni is well-known and appreciated the world over as an esteemed thermal locality situated in the heart of the Val d’Orcia.
Parco dei Mulini
Bagno Vignoni, Parco dei Mulini, caves and thermal bath and hot springs in Bagno Vignoni, San Quirico d'Orcia
The water of Bagno Vignoni was analized and described by the naturalist Giorgio Santi, but its usefulness was not limited – as noted by Emanuele Repetti – to its therapeutic effects alone; it served, in fact, to put "in motion 5 or 6 mills built one above another inside the travertine caves."
Today, thanks to rearrangement of the area carried out by the Commune and the ensuing inauguration of the Park of the Mills, visitors can admire some of the buildings mentioned by Repetti, which remained abandoned up to the middle of the 1950s. The activity of milling was, in fact, along with that of the baths, one of Bagno Vignoni's major resources.
Behind Bagno Vignoni, immersed and hidden in the green of the hill there is the small village borgo Vignoni Alto in a position that dominates the entire Val d' Orcia and the Monte Amiata.
Chiesa di San Biagio a Vignoni Alto
Bagno Vignoni, Piazza delle Sorgenti, con installazione artistica di Carlo Pizzichini
Bagno Vignoni, chiesa di
San Giovanni Battist
Bagno Vignoni, Parco dei Mulini
The vicinity of the bath to the Via Francigena, the pilgrims' route to Rome, persuaded the less-hurried travellers to make the acquaintance of the spa waters. La Via Francigena was the road, or better said, the bunch of roads that led to Rome from northern Europe. In Tuscany it follows the Cassia way touching San Gimignano, Siena, then San Quirico and Radicofani, travelling along the Val d'Orcia.
Andrei Tarkovsky shot Nostalghia in Tuscany in 1983. There were two sets he used for his film, Bagno di Vignoni and the Abbadia di San Galgano. Both sets played a very important role in the film, Bagno Vignoni serving as the culmination scene, San Galgano being the backdrop of a marvellous dream sequence staging a small Russican cottage from his childhood in a medieval Tuscan Abbey.
For a free bath, try the Parco dei Mulini, a hundred meters or so downhill. The better choice is Bagno San Filippo, only half an hour away from Bagno Vignoni. In the heart of the Val d’Orcia, San Filippo is characterized by suggestive calcareous sediments made by the hot sulphurous water.
Bagno San Filippo has a similar past: the waters of San Filippo were known by Romans, became famous in Middle Ages, treated famous people like Lorenzo il Magnifico and other princes of the Medici family.
The Thermal springs in Bagni San Filippo have created a magical landscape of white limestone formations, waterfalls and small pools of hot water. In the middle of a lush green wood, reached by a short walk. Following a picturesque walking path immersed in the green woods, and accompanied by the sound of the water, you come to the Balena Blanca (White Whale) waterfall.
Access to the entire area of the Fosso Blanco is free of charge.
One can reach Bgni San Filippo on the SP61, in the direction of Abbadia San Salvatore.
Bagno San Filippo was the location in which parts of Alice Rohrwacher's 2014 film Le Meraviglie were shot.
POINT OF DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL: Bagno Vignoni (Tourist Office at the entrance of the village), parking available. (Circular path).
LENGTH: about 12 Km.
DURATION: 4 hours.
The route starts from the tourist office located at the entrance of Bagno Vignoni. Take the paved road in the direction indicated by the sign of farmhouses. The asphalt road leads straight into the dirt and get to Vignoni Alto after about 40 minutes of ascent through olive groves and vineyards. (...)
The Castle of Vivo d'Orcia lies in the widespread Orcia valley in southern Tuscany, 35 km north of Podere Santa Pia. The area surrounding Montalcino has been famed for centuries by artists and poets for its beautiful yet peaceful landscapes, comprising of soft rolling valleys and lightly peppered with olive groves and vineyards of superior quality.
Vivo d'Orcia is a splendid outlying district of Castiglion d'Orcia, set in a valley outside time. At the foot of the castle, the river Vivo runs whose sources rise in the locality of Ermicciolo. Starting in the middle ages flour-mills, paper-mills and ironworks were built along the torrent and, in the 1920’s, one of the first hydroelectric power stations. Traces of these old buildings, covered with climbing plants, may still be seen here in one of the area’s most beautiful and evocative landscapes.
Maps and further descriptions are available in Podere Sante Pia.
In the heart of the evocative Tuscany country, hidden away from mass-tourism, one can discover a piece of Italy which remains largely unchanged both nature and lifestyle-wise. The peacefulness of the countryside, the various unique villages and the friendly atmosphere will no doubt pleasantly surprise you.