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    What to do in Montecatini, beyond the thermal baths

    Who I am
    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort
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    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Montecatini is not just spas, but much more. Here's what more to do in Tuscany, in Montecatini besides the thermal baths.

    Montecatini is a Tuscan town famous for its spas and good living. Too bad that lately it is not valued for all that is beautiful it has to offer. I have always seen it as a retro town, too XNUMXs to keep up with our days and every time I go there, my impression does not change.



    Autumn and winter are perfect seasons to visit it, both because the trees that frame the streets are colored, and because at the weekend the historic center is filled with people and the atmosphere immediately becomes festive. I anticipate that there are no great cultural attractions and I will not tell you what they are like spa, because I have never tried them for a wellness program and I cannot guarantee you anything.



    But I can advise you to go and visit the Roof structure, the historic thermal baths of Montecatini. Surely you have seen their structure on brochures or events that advertise the city, because their building is one of the most beautiful in the area. In Art Nouveau style, with a well-kept garden and elegant mosaics on the walls, it seems to enter a distant past, where wealthy gentlemen used to go to drink that miraculous water for digestion.

    My great-grandmother worked there as a brewer and told me that those were weak waters, like those of the Rinfresco, while the Leopoldina spring, not far away, delivered strong waters. They were (and are) drunk mainly by those with digestive problems. The other spa buildings are nearby, just along the boulevard that runs alongside the Park of the Baths.

    The park is a perfect destination for picnics. In fact, if some areas are almost wooded, hidden by very tall evergreens, other areas are covered with immense meadows, which on hot days become the favorite place for local children: how can you blame them ?! In Christmas time, the Santa's House, literally stormed by families.

    If you are in the mood for a gourmet break, right in front of one of the park entrances, you will find the Bargilli shop, which sells the Montecatini waffles, the real city specialty. They are round discs of thin wafer, filled with chopped almonds, with the Montecatini coat of arms printed on each side: try them with pistachio ice cream ... I'm already watering!


    You can also buy gift boxes, in paper packaging or in beautiful tin boxes. You can also choose between nooks or brigidini, another specialty of Pistoia. The Bargilli is still an institution, which opened the company back in 1936 and still keeps the fame of its products high.


    If you want to go shopping, you can choose between the stable market, which winds through the streets in front of the waffle shop, and the Corso, full of shops of all kinds. Pay attention to the bars: one more elegant than the other and also in this field, the name does the Gambrinus, which in summer also hosts a sort of literary café.


    If you are bored of Montecatini Terme, reach Montecatini Alto with your car or better still, with the funicular. The two red trains alternate on the short route from the early twentieth century and ensure a continuous connection between the castle and the lower part of the city. It is an exciting alternative to visit the historic Tuscan village.

    The upper part is in fact very characteristic, full of intricate alleys, neat churches and artistic craft shops. For a dinner or an aperitif, I recommend you stop here because it is really romantic and you can eat well in all the rooms of the square, enjoying a nice view.

    For after dinner, Montecatini has a lot to offer, both for a more traditional drink and for a night at the disco. There are also several discopubs, aimed at a clientele over 30. My favorite is the Lidò, the Pantheries, a historical meeting point since the 50s, when a swimming pool was opened in the middle of a lush garden in the most panoramic point of the city.


    Shortly after the dancing was inaugurated and the Lidò is still like this: it is impressive above all for its architecture. A mix between Art Nouveau, 70s disco and contemporary: a nightclub cannot fail to be a bit kitsch. Sunday aperitifs are also excellent, but if you don't like chaos you can always keep it in mind for a quiet day at the pool.

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