Tuscany's 'fountain of youth'

Ruth Jackson has found the fountain of youth. It's in Tuscany. The volcanic pool at the heart of the Terme di Saturnia spa, to be precise.

I've found the fountain of youth and it's in Tuscany. The thermal pool at the heart of Terme di Saturnia is a volcanic crater, which contains rain water that has filtered through the rocks for 40 years. It is claimed that the water can even reduce the signs of ageing in volunteers. Some of the spa's treat-ments are even prescribed through the Italian state health system.

This is probably just a canny piece of marketing. But the magical waters are far from the only reason to visit this resort. I'll warn you right now if you're looking for a 'boot camp' spa break that will leave you starved and purged of toxins, Terme di Saturnia is not the place for you. This is not a spa that be-lieves in denial.

The two restaurants specialise in rich, tasty food such as the Pici del Buttero, fillet steak and porcini mushrooms with handmade pasta and there's an extensive wine list. A healthier option is always available, but temptation is ever-present even breakfast is a treat, with a range of pastries, cured meats and cheeses. Who can follow a healthy diet when there's carrot cake on offer with the morning green tea?

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Luckily, the spa's glorious setting in the Tuscan hills means you won't want to skimp on the exercise. After you've eaten your breakfast of cake, you can join a 45-minute guided hike in the local country-side to work it off. As you soak up the views, you'll barely even notice you're exercising. And for those looking for a more intensive workout, there's the hotel gym. Of course, if you're looking for a more se-date holiday you can while away the hours taking regular dips in the thermal pool or sitting under the thermal waterfalls once I'd been told that this was where the water had its most powerful effect, you couldn't drag me away. The spa itself is well equipped with a wide range of treatments using mud and plankton from the thermal pool.

A seven-night stay in a double room in the Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany costs €980 including break-fast. Find out more at Termedisaturnia.it, or call 00 39 564 600 111. A return flight to Rome from Heathrow costs from £162.70 with British Airways. Book at BA.com.

Two alternative spas in Italy

The Marc Messegue Health Centre, Umbria


Lefay Resort & Spa, Lake Garda


Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.