The History of the Tivoli Spa
Tivoli means Spas!
Thanks to Lake Regina and Lake Colonnelle… because it is their springs, carrying three thousand litres a second, that provide us with some of the best-known sulphurous waters in Europe.
Unique, milky waters with an intense sulphurous odour.
The Acque Albule, and here begins the story of the Tivoli Spa.
Sulphurous Waters, an age-old story
Discovered as far back as the time of Imperial Rome, they were described by Pliny the Elder as “Most Holy Waters” for their therapeutic qualities.
In book XXXI of his “Natural History”, Pliny recalls how soldiers wounded during the war were accompanied to the sulphurous waters of the springs and, there, they recovered their good health.
Even Emperor Augustus benefited from the springs, and was so impressed that he commissioned the creation of the Imperial Baths to his architect M. Vespasiano Agrippa, who built them on the banks of the greater Lake Regina, close to the sacred forest of the Faun oracle, known as Pan’s Forest.
The Baths were organised into four rounded blocks on two floors, joined by porticoes that worked to gather hot air to warm the bathers before their immersion in the waters. The baths were later destroyed by the Barbarians, who raised them to the ground, leaving just a few remains.
But, from Ancient Rome to the Renaissance, the properties of the sulphurous waters of Tivoli were not lost.
And, with the arrival of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este in Tivoli, the Old Baths were built within the majestic Villa d’Este: the cardinal was in poor health and, on the advice of the medicine teacher at the University of Ferrara, Anton Musa Brasavola, he took benefit from the therapeutic properties of the ‘acque albule’ of Tivoli.
In the 14th century, the baths were given official medical recognition, thanks to the work by Doctor A. Cappello, ‘Ragionamento dei Bagni minerali presso Tivoli’ (Reasoning of the Tivoli Mineral Baths), in which he affirmed that the sulphurous waters of Tivoli were capable of curing skin, humor, urinary tract, respiratory and intestinal diseases.
In the same period, in order to facilitate exploitation of the sulphurous water properties, the Old Baths were renovated and made available to whoever was in need. And that was not all.
Around 1860, with the blessing of the Church and Pope Pius IX, a project was approved to build a new thermal baths close to the sulphurous springs. So convinced was he in his decision to make available new thermal baths to the people of Tivoli, that the Pope donated one thousand ecu towards the project.
Thus were born the Tivoli Baths, which continue to this day to be a point of reference for spa enthusiasts all over Europe.
The Tivoli Spa: wellness first and foremost
The ancient Baths of Agrippa, today rebuilt and known as the Terme di Roma (Rome Spa), are one of the main attractions in Tivoli. The baths still retain the original name, that of the architect Agrippa who designed and built the structure on commission by the Emperor Augustus.
Today, the spa complex has been extensively renovated and is able to accommodate and satisfy every need, from therapeutic demands to wellness and relaxation.
Covering an area of around 6,500 square metres, the baths include five large pools, continuously and naturally fed with sulphurous mineral water.
The hot water pools at a constant temperature of around 23°C, allow for bathing in both summer and winter seasons.
The cures offered by the thermal baths are numerous and varied, thanks to the abundant properties of the waters: mud therapy, balneotherapy, inhalation therapies, gynaecological irrigation, hydroponic therapies and a wellness centre for your relaxation and to cure your body and mind…
All that remains is to come and try it out!
The natural wonder of these springs is located right in the heart of Italy, in the Lazio region, and they can easily be reached by whoever wishes to take some time out from their many daily commitments and spend a weekend, or whatever time necessary, to rest the mind, body and spirit…
Tivoli Spa… centuries of wellness.