Ancient luxury thermal bathing


Since becoming a regular visitor to Bagni di Lucca I have known it is settled atop a boiling cauldron of thermal activity.  There are ornate taps in stone alcoves dotted in strategic places throughout the town where hot mineral water just spouts out endlessly. All you need is a cup and tea bag and you’d be sorted!

What I had not realised until recently is that streams of famous people have been coming to ‘take the waters’ for centuries now. So I was particularly keen to see the opening of the ancient thermal baths where Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister used to go. They have just been refurbished and you got a sense as you went through that you could bump into Pauline Bonaparte at any moment.

The original marble baths and ornate taps give you a feeling of old world luxury and they have done an excellent job adding contemporary touches with frosted glass and clever lighting. This really is one of the most authentic thermal baths I have visited and I can’t wait for them to open to the public – but that’s the hitch – they opened just for one day. Now it is back in moth balls until they can find an investor to take over the whole complex – bother – still this means Ms Bonaparte’s ghost can go back to bathing undisturbed!

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