Chianciano Terme Travel Guide
Pizza. Fine wine. Fellini. Some of the finest things to have come out of Italy. But while you can eat and drink till you pop in homage to the glorious foodstuffs, things are a little thin on the ground if you want to do a Fellini pilgrimage. There’s the Trevi fountain, of course, to recreate La Dolce Vita, but that’s touristy; and his hometown of Rimini doesn’t really have a huge amount to offer other than beaches.
But if you travel to the south of Tuscany – to the glorious Val d’Orcia, with its rolling clay hills and snaking cypress trees – you’ll find Chianciano Terme, the spa town where Fellini used to come to take the waters, and where he set 8˝.
First things first: Italian spas are not generally like UK or American spas. Go to a spa town and you’ll be confronted with foul-tasting water to swill for the good of your liver, vapor to inhale and doctors to consult. Even for the most “spa”-like treatments – mud wraps – you’re stripped naked, slapped in mud, wrapped in a blanket and then ordered into a bath of thermal water. Therapeutic it may be; classically relaxing it aint.
Chianciano used to be like this back in Fellini’s day – in fact, it was like that the first time we visited; but then about six years ago, they decided to modernize the spa, knocking out a vast block of toilets (a side effect of the water) and installing a mega-spa. There are treatment rooms on top, but what you really go for is the spa: the Terme Sensoriali, with 20 different stages of spa-dom, based around the elements.