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Montecatini Terme and surroundings

Montecatini Terme is a very famous thermal spa whose waters, considered to be of great benefit for liver disorders, were already mentioned in the 14th century by the doctor Ugolino da Montecatini.

The most important spas date back to the 18th century, built thanks to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Peter Leopold, later donated to the Benedictine friars of the Badia di Firenze. Today it is one of the most elegant and popular “water cities” in Europe, offering various cultural and social events.

Geography and history

Montecatini is situated on a plain at the foot of the hill of Montecatini Val di Nievole and on the edge of the extreme offshoots of the Appennines.

In 1530, some tubs for thermal baths were built at the foot of Montecatini and called “mediceo” or “tondo”, “dei merli” or “della rogna”.

Montecatini’s golden era started during the middle of the 19th century, when under Prof. Fedele Fedeli’s management, the hydrogeological basin was restructured and is presently made up of 8 water springs giving 1800 litres of water a second: Tamerici, Torretta, Tettuccio, Rinfresco, Leopoldina and Giulia (to which the crater Grocco was later added for mud pack treatments).

During the 1920s, the architect Ugo Giovannozzi designed other facilities for Baths, Mud baths and Inhalations in the silent oasis of the park, but also the refurbishment and expansion of the Terme Leopoldine and the reconstruction of the Tettuccio Terme, true emblem of Montecatini with the splendid circular colonnade.

The predominant architectural style is Art Nouveau and the “Galleria delle Bibite delle Terme Tettuccia” bears precious witness to this with the ceramic decorations by Basilio Cascella.


Taking the funicular, inaugurated in 1898, but fully functional again only in 1982, Montecatini Alto is reached: an ancient, picturesque castle. The journey, brief but striking, is on historic train cars, modernized for the travelers’ major safety, made up of three carriages with wooden benches and two external balconies which are the  most sought-after places from where the most extraordinary view dominates.

Food and wine

The local recipes are those of the traditional Tuscan cuisine (panzanella made with soaked bread and fresh vegetables, ribollita, a soup with bread, cabbage and beans, trippa, the Florentine steak). There are also original dishes such as the “minestra di rigagli” also called “il carcerato” because it used to be given to convicts, and the “schiacciata” with oil “pan di ramerino”, a tasty bread bun flavoured with raisins and rosemary.

Other characteristic sweets are “bertoli”, sun-dried slices of apples, “cialde dolci” brought by a family of Jewish confectioners who moved here during the second world war and “brigidino”, which, according to tradition, was invented by the nuns of the convent of Santa Brigida di Lamporecchio: even in this case, they are crispy wafers made with sugar, flour, eggs and aniseed and sold at all the festivals.

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