Rapolano Terme


For my last day in Siena we wanted it to be relaxed and to see another part of the area. Soooo we did a bit of research and found one of the 30 or so Thermal baths that are in the Tuscan area in a small village called Rapolano Terme.

To get there we walked down to the Siena station (after all the walking we do getting a taxi seems like an absurd concept)

and got a little train (with just 2 carriages) that choo-chooed us along to outskirts of Rapolano. I say outskirts, as there is the original old walled city (although most of it is relatively new due to bombing in WWII) and then down from the hill where the station is located, many newer housing developments. Neither of us having been there before with just a vague idea of where we were to go, we angled towards the centre of town

and took in the countryside views along our way.

The town must be home to a prolific sculptor as there were a disproportionate number of huge, abstract, white sculptures here and there

We found the centre but it was absolutely empty…. shops closed and piece of rolling desert weed (like in the Old Western films) drifting through the piazza would have fitted the moment perfectly. Following the distant sound of chatter we found some people who kindly directed our grumbling stomachs to the “Patriot” tavern.

It was FULL of people, all locals and i think it must have been the only shop open in town that day. We had hearty pasta dishes and were soon on our way to make sure we found the Spa well before the time of our appointments

So we wandered down out of the hilltown, with just a vague sense of where to go and we walked and walked

and stopped at the little railway pass

and walked and walked

until we found a sign for the Spa and arrived!

” Known for centuries and always used for its beneficial properties, the spring of Antica Querciolaia has its ideal position right in the centre of Tuscany, in a land where art, history and nature merge indissolubly. A unique position, very close to well known art towns such as Siena, Pienza, and Montepulciano, in a land, the Crete Senesi, where shapes and colours have inspired perfection since time immemorial and where peace and silence recall primeval and timeless atmospheres. And it is this position, together with the comfort and the functionality of a modern structure, that makes Terme Antica Querciolaia the ideal place to revitalize your body and soul; a place where the thermal wellness becomes a global style of life in which the beneficial virtues of water blend with the knowledge of skilful hands and the pleasure of a treatment ”

That, if you couldn’t tell was the blurb from the website – what we found i admit wasn’t quite what i was expecting. I had connotations of steamy baths looking over rolling hills, elegant Italians in white robes, serentiy – that kind of a thing.. Instead i found what i’d best describe as a small “Wet ‘n’ Wild” (for non-Australians its a crowded, somewhat tacky waterpark) . That labels probably a little too harsh, as in place of the slides and pee-pools lined with endless umbrella’s and screaming children…. there were hot, smelly (justifiably from the natural gases in the water) pools lined with endless umbrellas and generally older people who didnt let bulging bodies deter them from wearing miniscule swimsuits! (We later found out that the kind of Spa i had in mind was just down the road… Bummer!)

Nevertheless the main reason for going to the Spa was to have a massage to help my sore neck and generally overly tight back and shoulder. The massage was lovely and certainly helped and my friend found her favorite type of hot chocolate

Also, i was able to glimpse my imagined rolling hills as well as the most incredible roses

on the walk back to the train station.

It was too bad so sad if you wanted to use the station bathrooms – the rooms were literally blocked up!

I again admired the gentles Tuscan hills on our train trip back

and our little 2 carriage train eventually huffed in Siena half an hour or so after departure from Rapolano

On the walk home we stopped for an aperitif and bite to eat, enjoying the atmosphere and the lively chatter of the locals.

Then finally made our way through the twilight sky – that beautiful time after the sun has set and before it is fully dark and the sky is a deep violety-blue. To top it all off there were also SO many magical little fire flies! At one point we just stopped and watched them flit about, flashing their lights hear and there. Like a farewell send off!

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