Last updated on October 14th, 2023
You’ve heard of the the Saturnia hot springs (aka Cascate del Mulino), Tuscany’s photo-friendly hot springs that draw scores of Italian and international visitors.
But, you’ve probably never heard of Bagni San Filippo, the smaller – but still dramatic – hot springs nestled in the woods far from any major tourist landmarks.
Because Bagni San Filippo is a little more off-the-beaten-path, it’s worth checking out – especially if you can visit in the late fall, winter, or early spring. The combo of the forest, the hot water, and the cool air in these months is magical.
My husband and I stopped by in the early spring and there were maybe ten other people in the springs. If you’ve seen photos of Saturnia in summer when it’s packed like a can of sardines, you’ll appreciate the calm and less-crowded Bagni San Filippo. However, know that it is busier in the summer and fall – so don’t expect to have the place to yourself.
Sound like a place you’d like to visit? Let’s take a quick look at how you can have an enjoyable visit to Bagni San Filippo.
Table of Contents
Where is Bagni San Filippo?
Bagni San Filippo hot springs are in Southern Tuscany, at the base of the Val d’Orcia and on the eastern edge of Mount Amiata (Monte Amiata).
Good To Know: If you’re interested in a Tuscan hot springs road trip, you’ll find a few other hot springs nearby, including Bagno Vignoni, San Casciano dei Bagni, Chianciano Terme, and Saturnia.
How to Get to Bagni San Filippo
Car – The best way to reach Bagni San Filippo is with your own car.
Bagni San Filippo’s hot springs distance from:
- Rome – 2 hr 15 min
- Florence – 2 hr
- Siena – 1 hr 10 min
- Orvieto – 1 hr
Public Transport – I do not recommend trying to get to Bagni San Filippo with public transport. You’ll be spending most of your day traveling and waiting for buses and trains.
Parking at Bagni San Filippo
The road going through the village of Bagno Vignoni is one-way (senso unico), and there area parallel parking spaces along the road through town. The parking is pay-and-display – pay in the machines and display your ticket on your dashboard.
If you don’t see any parking along the road, keep driving until you get to the paid lot at the bottom of town.
Walking Down to the Hot Springs at Bagni San Filippo
After you’ve parked, make your way to the trail entrance, which is across the street from the small bar (currently called Bar La Cascata).
You’ll walk past a few picnic tables on the right and just keep going. The gravel trail slopes gently downhill. There’s a small wooden bridge that you’ll cross and soon the trail will get a little steeper.
At that point, you’ll need to stop and pay (new as of August 2023) if you want to head left for the famous baths – €2/adult and younger kids are free. You can also choose to skip the €2 and head right to other baths, but the fee is worth it – the best baths are to the left.
You’ll know when you get to the White Whale (La Balena Bianca), the nickname of the huge sulphurous formation that holds some of the prettiest pools.
If it’s not crowded, you can stop there (where the water is warmer), or keep heading downhill and find a pool that you like.
There are certain sections fenced off – this is to keep specific areas of the hot springs from being used (and possibly ruined) by visitors.
Depending on where the fencing is, you can continue walking to the pools of the White Ditch (sounds better in Italian – Fosso Bianco), although the trail can get very muddy – so pay attention to where you’re stepping!
Soaking in the Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs
You can enjoy a soak in the pools of Bagni San Filippo, but it’s important to respect the fencing and stay inside the designated zones. The town is trying to preserve the springs and keep some of the areas untouched.
When you’re ready to get in, leave your belongings on the dirt (bring a plastic bag, not cloth – as it can be muddy) and hop in!
Please be respectful of the White Whale (Balena Bianca) and don’t slide on it or walk on it – it’s quite fragile.
Tips for Visiting Bagni San Filippo
- Change into your swimsuit in your car, or arrive already in your swimwear.
- Bring water and snacks with you because there are no facilities at the pool. You can eat on the ground near the springs or at the few picnic tables at the top of the trail.
- If you want to bring a picnic, there are grocery stores in nearby Vivo d’Orcia and Abbadia San Salvatore.
- Use the toilets in the village (at a bar or restaurant) before you walk down the trail to the springs.
- Wear sneakers or well-fitting sandals to walk the trail to the hot springs. They can be muddy and slippery and in places it’s steep – you don’t want to fall.
- The hot springs at Bagni San Filippo are closed at night. At the time of writing, there were no set ‘nighttime’ hours – just a rule to stay out at night.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car.
Where to Stay Near Bagni San Filippo
While there are a few apartments for rent in Bagni San Filippo, I’d recommend staying elsewhere and visiting on a day trip or for part of the day.
You could stay in further north in the central part of the Val d’Orcia or further south, close to the tufa towns of Pitigliano, Sorano, and Sovana.
If you’re looking for a hotel with thermal baths, try:
- Terme di Saturnia Spa Resort (Saturnia)
- Fonteverde (San Casciano dei Bagni)
- ADLER Spa Resort THERMAE (Bagno Vignoni)
Otherwise, this area is full of lovely agriturismi.
Bagni San Filippo with Kids
Bagni San Filippo’s hot springs aren’t ideal with small children because the trails close to the springs are steep, have tree roots sticking out of the ground (easy to trip on), and the trails are often muddy.
Also, you need to walk 5-10 minutes down the trail to get to the hot springs, and once you’re there, there are no facilities. If you need toilets, food, water, etc – you have to walk back up.
The trail is not stroller-friendly and there aren’t great places to change diapers (bring a disposable pad and look for a flat surface).
I would feel ok bringing my 8-year-old and 5-year-old here for a quick soak, but I wouldn’t bring my 2-year-old.
The water temperature is warm/hot, but you can choose pools further down which are cooler.
However, having said all of that – if you feel like you can get your child(ren) down to the pools, they are shallow and these springs aren’t as crowded as other more popular Tuscan hot springs like Saturnia. Plus, kids love that parts of the springs look like they’re covered in freshly fallen snow.
Good To Know: There is a tiny playground at the bottom of the village (swings and slide), but there’s no fence and it’s along the road.
Things to Do Near Bagni San Filippo
Besides checking out some of the other nearby hot springs, before or after you soak at Bagni San Filippo you could:
- Explore Monte Amiata, Tuscany’s highest mountain
- Visit the tufa towns of Pitigliano, Sovana, and Sorano
- Check out Bolsena (town) and Lago di Bolsena
- Road trip in the Tuscan countryside, stopping in Val d’Orcia towns and villages like Pienza, Montepulciano, Monticchiello, and San Quirico d’Orcia
- Take photographs of iconic scenes in the area, like at the Vitaleta Chapel or the San Quirico cypress trees
- Drive one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the area (between Sordino and Sforzesca, on the SP20)
- Explore Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio
Bagni San Filippo FAQ
I think a morning or afternoon is plenty of time. You can soak in the springs and get something to eat in the village if you’d like. It’s a small village, so you probably won’t feel like spending multiple days there.
There is a lot of sulphur in the thermal water at Bagni San Filippo, so you will smell the rotten egg scent of the sulphur and it will remain in your swimsuit and towel for a couple of washes.
San Gimignano is almost two hours from Bagni San Filippo by car, so it’s not close, but you could visit both on the same day. Rapolano Terme is closer, and so is Bagno Vignoni.
Bagni San Filippo doesn’t get the number of visitors as Terme di Saturnia, but it’s smaller so it will feel crowded with less people. It is well-known by Italians and some in-the-know international visitors, so it can get crowded.