Wednesday, November 13, 2013

OTBP: Terme Euganee

Did you know that for more than 2000 years, people have been visiting the Terme Euganee  to enjoy their thermal pools and spas? The Romans valued the area for its waters and would travel there for its healing benefits and relaxation. Living here, it seems the place is well-known in Italy, Germany, and Russia -  but not I think, to many others. I'm going to let you in on this well-kept (?) secret of Italy so you too can be in the know.

Here's the scoop:

Region: Veneto
Province: Padova
Main Spa Towns: Abano Terme, Montegrotto Terme, Battaglia Terme/Galzignano Terme

The area of the Terme Euganee is the largest thermal spa in Europe. Set at the base of the Euganean Hills, the two main spa towns - Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme - and the much smaller ones of Battaglia Terme/Galzignano Terme are host to more than 100 hotels offering thermal pools and spa treatments. What makes this area special is the water and the mud.

Thermal spring 
The water is classified as "hyper-bromine-iodic" and reads at a constant temperature of 87F (31C). It begins as rain in the Alps (about 50 years ago), collects in uncontaminated basins at the foothills, runs through mineral -rich soil (for about 80km) and is warmed by the volcanic (not active) Euganean Hills. As a result, the water is hot and full of beneficial minerals that just make you feel good.

The hotels offer numerous thermal pools in which the water temperature is regulated (so its cool in the summer) and which have various hydro-therapy jet areas. Hot tubs, of course, little individual "barrels" on the sides of the pool which offer whole body water jet massages, water "beds' with jet massages, waterfalls and fountains for neck/back water massage, or just a large area to swim or take a water aerobics class. Most, if not all, pools are indoor/outdoor which is an added bonus in the winter. There's nothing like swimming in hot water on a cold afternoon.  In addition to the pools, the hotels have various spa treatments you can try, one of the most popular is the mud therapy, called Fangotherapy.  This mud is particular to the area, taken from two small "lakes" at the base of the hills and aged in big tanks with the thermal water.

Abano Terme pedestrian area
The towns themselves are really centered around the hotels and will not satisfy your need for that old, quaint Italian town. But, there are plenty of activities and good food to be had. Both Abano and Montegrotto have expansive pedestrian areas with great shops to peruse and bars to have a leisurely espresso. Hotels also loan out bicycles so you can take a ride in the hills or around the towns (they are very bike friendly). Though you can find fancy, cosmopolitan spas, if you're looking for that Zen type spa - this is not the place. The Terme Euganee has an atmosphere that is more like those old black & white movies where people took months off to recuperate at the spa hotels, strolling around the grounds in their luxurious robes - kind of a casual elegance if that makes sense.
Catajo  - Valsanzibio

A few other attractions:
- The Euganean Hills themselves (more on that in another post)
- Montegrotto - Ruins of a Roman spa that can be toured
- Battaglia - Castello del Catajo, hosts events and offers night time ghost tours
- Galzignano - Villa Valsanzibio Garden with its hedge maze
- Numerous Venetian villas, vineyards, etc.

Other info of note:
  • The towns of Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme are very close together and offer a tram that runs between them making stops at hotels, pedestrian areas, etc. - it is called the Puffetto (because its painted Smurf blue and in Italy, the Smurfs are called I Puffi)
  • There is a train station in Montegrotto which is the Terme Euganee station; it is a major stop on the train routes
  • These spa towns are about a 45-minute train ride from Venice and even closer from Padova
  • All the hotels have room/spa packages but if you aren't staying in town, you can purchase day passes to the pools
  • Always check for local events - this area has a ton of events in the towns as well as the hills
So now you know. You're welcome. lol

More later...


Linda said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog after reading the latest post on " Married to Italy ", I'm an Italian girl studying Foreign Languages (you can easily guess which )and I live in Montegrotto. Needless to say, it was quite shocking for me to discover a new blog with a recent post about my hometown!! I'm really glad to know you appreciated our terme! I'll star following your blog, if you don't mind :)

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