Grand Hotel Terme della Fratta, located in Bertinoro, Italy, is located within a thirty-two acre heavily forested park. Originally completed in 1930, the spa received a facelift in 2005 but maintained the historic neoclassical facade. The experience is a true wellness retreat ( there are seven thermal springs within the park), where you can indulge all of your senses with beauty treatments, massage, sports, and world-class cuisine. There are even physicians on staff if you wish to include a physical exam or long-term treatment program as part of your spa experience.
The Healing Waters Of Emilia Romagna
Emilia Romagna is an area known for thermal spas, and there are twenty-six in total including Terme della Fratta. In Italy, it is quite popular to take a vacation at one of these spa retreats. Most are located in a beautiful wilderness park where you can also enjoy nature and outdoor activities.
I had read about the healing properties of thermal waters and was very interested in experiencing them. After all, the skin is the largest organ of the human body. As a professional makeup artist, I’m always on the lookout for treatments to rejuvenate the skin. Additionally, mineral springs contain high amounts of negative ions which can improve feelings of psychological well-being. In my opinion, if you feel good, you will look good.
After a brief tour of the large and elegant hotel reception area, we were given a spa kit that included a robe, towel, swim cap, slippers, and locker key – everything except a bathing suit was provided. Then, it was time for an apertivo with antipasti. I am sure I have never been to a spa in the US that serves prosecco; I quickly decided this was my kind of place.
The Italian Spa Experience
Once in our bathing costumes, we were guided through what is called the Harmony of Nature route, beginning with a hydro walkway.
Exactly What IS A hydro Walkway?
It is a circular path, where you step down into a rather narrow pool that is about waist deep. It’s divided in the center by a beautiful glass water wall. You begin by stepping into icy cold water about waist deep and you walk to the end of that side of the pool, about twenty feet. You step out there, then enter the other side which is warm, like a sauna. Basically, you just a loop for about 5 – 10 minutes going from cold to hot. The health benefit is improved circulation. The thought of plunging myself into frigid water didn’t sound all that appealing if I’m honest. My best advice is, don’t think too much about it, just do it. It actually becomes quite pleasurable once you get used to it.
Next, we went to the big thermal pool, modeled after a classical Roman bath. Basically, it looks like a huge free-form swimming pool, and the water smells a lot like saltwater. There are plenty of nice teak lounge chairs around the perimeter for relaxing, and beautiful ambient lighting.
The water in the thermal pool comes from underground springs and is extremely hot, but somehow they control the temperature. Thermal water is full of minerals that are reputed to heal the joints and increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body thereby nourishing the organs.
The pool has built-in beds with massage jets (heavenly), a sort of whirlpool or hot tub also with jets, two waterfalls, and a rain shower. The waterfall is really intense. If you can imagine a Sumo wrestler massaging you – that’s kind of what the force of the water is like. You have to position yourself in just the right place for the water to massage your neck and shoulders. Once you find the perfect spot you won’t want to move!
Healing Thermal Waters
There is also a sulfur water pool which surprisingly didn’t smell at all. I was especially interested in trying this pool because it is reputed to heal all sorts of skin ailments from dermatitis to psoriasis, and other skin issues. I’m sure one would need multiple exposures to the water for long-term effects, but I noticed my skin was really nice for a couple of days afterward.
Unfortunately, my spa time was too short, only a few hours. I’d love to go back and stay in the beautiful Italian countryside. Plus the peaceful environment of the hotel would be a welcome change from touring around the more crowded tourist sites and monuments in Italy. What do you think? Does a spa vacation in Italy sound appealing?
If you are not a guest at the hotel you can still enjoy the spa for as little as 40 euros per day. This will give you entrance to all the amenities I have shared about.
For more information about Grand Hotel Terme della Fratta and the full menu of services and activities available in the area, visit their website.
Have you ever been to a thermal spa?