In the south of Tuscany, a couple of kilometres south-east of its ancient namesake hillside village and west of the stunning Pitigliano are the remarkable hot springs of Saturnia. With the haphazard parking of cars and vans, a steady stream of half-naked people strolling along a dirt track and the less-than-subtle scent of sulphur wafting in the air, the Saturnia Cascades gushes warmed water from the Earth which settles into a series of small rock pools.
Gracelessly slithering down a natural stair to enter the hallowed waters, people step into the mineral-rich vivid turquoise bath. Even with a fair crowd of people chatting animatedly, the Saturnia hot springs are remarkably relaxing and a wonderful afternoon tonic to Tuscan adventures. Settling nearer the small waterfall offers a robust massage while sitting in one of the natural pools up to your neck is like bathing in champagne, the effervescence of tiny bubbles tingling the entire body.
With no change rooms, limited signage and a lone van selling ice-creams and cool drinks, this is as uncommercialised as can be. Lean back and enjoy the warming spa waters of this offbeat wonder of the world in much the same way as historic documents show that the Etruscans, Romans and Italians have done for over two millennia. And maybe like these predecessors, the memories will stay for a day or two as the sulphurous smell lingers despite any efforts to wash it off.