Monday, August 3, 2009

Baths for Saints and Sinners

We had dinner one evening in Bagno Vignoni on a terrace overlooking a pool that fills the small town's main piazza. The water comes from thermal springs that were known to the Etruscans. The was the ancient Romans (and their love of baths!) that turned the area into a spa which has attracted people for centuries. Medieval pilgrims traveling the Via Francigena stopped here to relieve their aching feet and legs in the sulpher pools. St. Catherine of Siena and Pope Pius II are both know to have soaked in the waters, and Lorenzo de' Medici was a frequent visitor. Today there are a couple of hotels in Bagno Vignoli that offer full treatments to guests.

The Via Francigena is the route from Canterbury to Rome. The earliest written account of the journey is from Sigeric, the Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 994. His diary describes his itinerary and the main stopping places of the rouet he took.

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