The Facts: Terme de' Medici
San Casciano dei Bagni is 95 miles from Rome or Florence. You can reach it by car, or by train from either city via the town of Chiusi and then a 20-minute taxi ride to the hotel.
THE HOTEL & SPA
Hotel Terme de' Medici and Centro Termale Fonteverde The hotel and spa, owned by the proprietors of the thermal center in Saturnia, opened in June. A one-week stay is recommended to get the full benefits of the waters. An appointment with the resident doctor, Paolo Bruno, or with Ayurveda specialist Dipu, is essential to form a plan that will suit your needs. Packages are available that include treatments targeting overall well-being, fitness, or relaxation, as well as other, more specific problems and ailments, such as cellulite. In addition to Dipu's massages ($74), I particularly liked the spa facial ($67), the micro-lifting facial (a buffing treatment, $112), and the phyto-fango therapy (a cellulite treatment, $77). All treatments use the Fonteverde's own line of products, which are based on algae that grow in the thermal waters. The spa also has a fully equipped gym with individual and group instruction for stretching, aerobics, and Pilates. Guided walks through the countryside are offered each morning. From $270 per night, single occupancy, with all meals; weekly packages from $1,700, single occupancy, with meals.
San Casciano dei Bagni; 39-0578/57241; fax 39-0578/572-200; www.fonteverdeterme.com
WHERE TO EAT
If you're not on a strict diet, consider abandoning the hotel's superb restaurant occasionally to dine at one of the following excellent restaurants.
Osteria della Montagna Set in the nature reserve of Monte Rufeno, this restaurant has a terrace overlooking trees, and serves ravioli in a black truffle sauce along with delicious organic wines from Chianti and other regions. Dinner for two $40. Monaldesca, Trevinano 39-0763/717-078
Ristorante Daniela Right on the square and an easy 10-minute walk from the hotel. Dinner for two $60. 7 Piazza Matteotti, San Casciano dei Bagni; 39-0578/58041
Il Poggio Tuscan nouvelle cuisine on an immense terrace with a commanding view of the countryside. Dinner for two $73. Celle Sul Rigo, San Casciano dei Bagni; 39-0578/53748
Ristorante Zaira Specialties are deer and wild boar prosciutti, pici, and roast pigeon. Be sure to visit the impressive wine cellar. Dinner for two $60. 12 Via Arunte, Chiusi; 39-0578/20260
WHAT TO DO
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi One of the finest collections of Etruscan artifacts in Italy. 93 Via Porsenna, Chiusi; 39-0578/20177
Abbazia di Sant'Antimo A cathedral set in the most bucolic countryside; mass with Gregorian chant is held on Sundays. Castelnuovo dell'Abate, Montalcino
Bathing establishments can be found throughout the area, from public ones such as the Bagno Grande (where you can bathe at night) to the calcified waterfalls of Bagni San Filippo, which look like a baked Alaska.
An excursion to Bagno Vignoni, about 18 miles from San Casciano. The centerpiece of this extraordinary little town is a rectangular pool (formerly used for bathing) surrounded by a colonnaded building, low stone houses, and olive groves. Osteria del Leone serves local specialties in a delightful courtyard. Dinner for two $50. Piazza del Moretto; 39-0577/887-300