In a region where thermal baths are almost a religion, Grotta Giusti’s natural grotto is something straight out of a fairytale.
Even now, popping to the thermal baths is something totally normal in Italy, especially in the regions that are most famous for them such as Tuscany. Italians go there to relax but also to heal and it’s a ‘treat’ that is usually affordable for most and considered an investment in your health more than anything else.
One area in Tuscany is so renowned for its thermal baths that some of the towns even have the adjective ‘thermal’ added to their name, such as Montecatini Terme and Monsummano Terme.
An amazing experience in the winter just as much as it is in the summer, it’s always a good idea to book a weekend in a thermal spa and switch off.
Grotta Giusti is located in the heart of the Tuscan ‘thermal triangle’, in a small town called Monsummano Terme. Far away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind for a weekend, but also close to many things to see that can easily fill up a long weekend away.
Monsummano Terme is small and Grotta Giusti is an oasis hidden in the Tuscan hills, but there are a couple of day trips that can’t be missed if staying in this part of the region. First, Montecatini Terme, probably the most famous thermal town in Italy (thanks to a popular festival) and one of the most picturesque towns to visit in the surrounding area. Grotta Giusti organises shuttle buses that go and come back from Montecatini Terme everyday, all day long.
For an additional day out, Lucca is an unmissable stop when visiting Tuscany. Less known than Florence and Siena but equally as beautiful, the city offers great architecture, unlimited culture and delicious food. For lunch, stop at Da Ciacco – simple but great food to get a taste of the real Tuscany.
The main house (now the hotel bar) was the former home of famed poet Giuseppe Giusti – from whom the hotel takes its name.
Since then, the hotel has been expanded but the main house has been kept intact and it’s still as charming as it was back then. The historical touch of the architecture, the paintings, the furniture and the presence of a spacious reading room full of nice sofas and daily newspapers, make the hotel feel like somewhere out of a (fancy) period drama, while the bedrooms are more recently built and feel more modern.
The hotel boasts 64 spacious rooms, with white marble bathrooms, a cosy living space with a walk-in wardrobe and a separate bedroom.
Some of them even have a balcony looking on to the garden, which is a real treat in the summer.
The amenities are definitely Grotta Giusti’s strongest feature. The hotel has one big pool open to the public – only from 10am to 6pm, the rest of the time this pool is exclusively for guests – and two smaller pools reserved for the hotel’s guests. The smaller pool, right next to the spa facilities, is a big jacuzzi with five different types of hydro-massages available.
Finally, the icing on the cake: the famous grotto. Grotta Giusti hides a natural treasure which has won the hotel a few awards (including World’s Best Thermal Grotto Spa at the World Spa Awards 2018) and attracts visitors from around the world.
Entering the natural grotto is like being transported to a fairytale. The ancient thermal cave works as a natural steam room and its divided into three different sections that have been named ‘paradise’, ‘purgatory’ and ‘hell’ as the temperature in the cave rises from 28 to 34 degrees, depending on the zone. The recommended treatment is 50 minutes long but there is more to do in the grotto than just sitting down. For the yogis, Grotta Giusti organises yoga classes in the upper (‘paradise’) part of the cave. The healthy natural vapours help anything from respiratory, circulatory, osteo-muscular, nervous and skin complaints and the warmth makes the yoga experience even more relaxing.
The most magical place in the grotto must be the hot spring lake. This natural wonder is particularly fascinating in the winter, when the water is higher. During this period, the hotel organises scuba diving lessons and floating therapy – a one of a kind experience.
How to get to Grotta Giusti
The best way to get to Grotta Giusti is by car. The hotel is tucked away in the Tuscan hills, which can make it difficult to reach by public transport. The nearest big city is Lucca, which is a 30-minute drive from the hotel. It is possible to get to Lucca from Pisa airport and then book a taxi to Grotta Giusti – but the price might be comparable to hiring a car for a couple of days.
- A car is not necessary but handy when going to this part of Tuscany. Being a bit less touristy than the more famous Florence, Pisa and Siena means that the public transport between the cities and villages can be more difficult to navigate for foreigners. Once there, it’s really worth exploring your surroundings and the less well known but still beautiful cities in the region, such as Lucca and Pistoia.
- Make sure you visit Montecatini Alto, which is the historic part of the town of Montecatini Terme. The top of the town can be reached with a cable car (€7 return ticket) and it’s worth the money.
- If you want to book a particular activity at Grotta Giusti, make sure you do so in advance. The floating therapy and any other activities taking place in the hot spring lake are only possible when the waters are high so it’s worth checking with the hotel for the best time to visit.
Nightly rates at Grotta Giusti start from €148 (£131*) per person per night in a Comfort room on a B&B basis. Rates also include wifi, access to the spa and fitness facilities. For further information or to book please email email@example.com or call +39 0572 90771. *Prices in pound sterling (£) according to today’s exchange rate.
Pictures: Provided by Grotta Giusti