From Saturnia to the Silver Coast
After 2400 years, perhaps western thought is again ready to take a look at Hippocrates’ philosophy that “only the sick exist, not sickness.” That is the approach of the Hotel Terme di Saturnia. A wholesome approach to well-being, from the soothing palette of the hotel’s color scheme, to its sensible approach to exercise (think: a 45-minute walk through the gardens every morning) to its light yet flavorful food (after all we are in Italy!).
And not only will we spend as much time as we wish in these amazing baths, but we also have a panoply of choices for spa and fitness treatments. Yoga, Pilates, aquafitness. Aromatherapy, stone therapy, plus a variety of holistic treatments inspired by Asian philosophies. Dozens of types of facials, body treatments, peelings, inhalation therapies. And just to add variety, we will venture to nearby Tuscan hilltowns like Pitigliano and Montemerano.
After three nights we will travel the winding road through those enchanting Tuscan hills to the Mediterranean Sea and Southern Tuscany’s most luxurious hotel, Il Pellicano. Relaxation is a way of life in this unhurried corner of Tuscany. The hotel staff welcomes us with a cocktail upon our arrival. The kitchen staff spends the next morning teaching us wonderful dishes like ravioli filled with fresh cheese and bathed in a black truffle sauce and a soup made of fresh tomatoes and scampi, accented with coriander. Tonight we will feast on our morning’s creations.
The end of our tour of Tuscany finds us in the wine country of Southern Tuscany, very much undiscovered and full of delightful surprises. We will also have a chance to explore the two charming fishing villages near Il Pellicano, for a bit of local flavor and a chance to bring home a unique memoir.
Day 1 – The Tuscan Baths of Saturnia
Early afternoon transfer from Rome to our Tuscan paradise, the Hotel Terme di Saturnia. Nestled among the rolling hills of Southern Tuscany, the hotel is situated over the thermal baths found near the town of Saturnia that gush from this mineral-rich earth at a constant 98.6 degrees after a 40-year subterranean trip. Over 2,000 years ago, Saturnia was actually a stop along the Via Clodia and a health resort for Roman Patricians. Waters like these are so healing that they inspired the Romans to coin the acronym SPA (Salus Per Aquam). Thus began the ancient yet very modern practice of regenerating oneself in a natural, healthful oasis.
We’ll have time to spend in the baths before a welcome dinner at the hotel. Delicious, specially-created “Saturnia Light” cuisine is available upon request.
Lodging for the next three nights at Hotel Terme di Saturnia.
Day 2 – Tuscan Hilltown Cooking
After a bountiful breakfast, we are free to try some of the many spa activities, wander through the hotel’s gardens, play tennis or visit the charming nearby town of Saturnia. Lunch on your own.
This afternoon we will travel a short distance to Montemerano, a beautiful hilltown surrounded by centuries-old olive trees. After some time to explore, we will gather for an entertaining cooking lesson at one of the town’s finest restaurants. Dinner in Montemerano.
Day 3 – Picturesque Pitigliano
We will leave after breakfast for the short trip to Pitigliano, a town of Etruscan origin that sits dramatically atop a crag of porous rock. Although small, Pitigliano has something of interest for everyone, as we will find out during our guided tour. There’s time for shopping (numerous artists and craftsmen live and work here) before our lunch of local cheeses, prosciutto, the Tuscan biscotti called cantucci and Morellino di Scansano wine.
Mid-afternoon return to our hotel, with plenty of time for another dip in one of the four hot-water pools or spa treatment. Dinner at the hotel tonight.
Day 4 – Off to the Silver Coast
Today finds us winding our way past fields of the famous Tuscan cattle, olive groves, and cypress-lined roads towards La Costa d’Argento, the Silver Coast. By late morning we reach La Parrina, a local legend that produces excellent wines as well as marmelades, sheep and goat milk cheeses and yogurts and other delights. After a brief lesson about the cheese making process, we’ll enjoy an al fresco lunch based upon products grown and raised at the farm.
A very short journey away is our home for the next three nights, the outstanding Hotel Il Pellicano. Voted the fifth best leisure hotel in Europe in Conde Naste’s 2003 survey, Il Pellicano is a small group of discreetly placed rooms and suites built into the side of a forested, seaside hill. Our accommodations will all have views of the Mediterranean. After a welcome aperitivo at the hotel, we descend to the excellent Gambero Rosso restaurant in the village of Porto Ercole for dinner.
Lodging for the next three nights at Hotel Il Pellicano.
Day 5 – Hands On Cooking at Il Pellicano
The culinary staff has dedicated this morning to a lively cooking lesson. After an overview of the principal Mediterranean herbs and spices, we will proceed to learn a series of light and delicious local specialties. Options are available for non-cooking guests. After our lesson we drive along the Silver Coast to Porto Santo Stefano, where we will enjoy a light lunch and time to wander. This evening features an elegant tasting menu of the dishes that we created during our lesson.
Day 6 – The Tuscan Wine Roads
Today we will travel the Tuscan wine roads to a wonderful winery chosen by the hotel sommelier. After a tour and wine tasting, you may enjoy lunch on your own. Our afternoon is free to get in a final massage, swim in the hotel’s heated salt water pool and pack bags. The gala tasting dinner will be unforgettable, with dishes like sauteed scallops over mesclun lettuce, tagliolini with lobster and green pea pesto, and salmon served with an artichoke sauce enhanced with Madagascar vanilla bourbon.
Day 7 — Departure for Rome
After breakfast we transfer to Rome, with an optional transfer to the outstanding sister hotel of Il Pellicano, Hotel La Posta Vecchia, just a short distance from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.