About Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs
The Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs and Waterfalls are one of the more attractive natural thermal features in the famed Tuscany Region.
In addition to featuring a large travertine formation known as the Balena Bianca (White Whale), which itself featured grottos and terraces, there were also thermal waterfalls and pools that you can bathe in.
In my mind, this was a less popular hot springs attraction compared to the Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia, but it’s by no means a hidden secret.
Given its more rugged terrain and slippery footing, Bagni San Filippo felt more like a more low-key place to bathe in Nature whereas the Cascate del Mulino could resemble more of a pool party scene.
Nevertheless, as this place continues to gain popularity (there was certainly no shortage of visitors who don’t speak Italian here), I’m sure locals will find themselves in a similar predicament to maintain that balance between commercialism and charm.
How much does it cost to visit Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs
During our visit in late November 2023, we had to pay 2 euros per person to someone manning the “office” half-way down the path from the trailhead to the hot springs.
Apparently, this place had been free in the past, but this leads me to believe that the price could easily change as time goes on.
Personally, I feel that the locals have a right to collect money for these natural attractions.
This is especially if they have to maintain the trail, clean up litter, and implement safety measures as well as prevent people from doing stupid things.
In any case, this is just the access fee, but there’s also a pay-and-display machine at the parallel parking spots near the trailhead.
I believe it was about 2.5 euros per hour, but the credit card reader on the machine wasn’t working during our visit and no one apparently enforced it.
So that’s something to consider when it comes to the cost of visiting Bagni San Filippo’s Hot Spring.
Experiencing the Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs
After finding a parking spot on the one-way road into the lower part of the town of Bagni San Filippo (see directions below), we walked downhill to the actual trailhead, which sat before the lower town.
From there, we followed the well-developed trail as it curled to our right just above the steaming hot springs that ultimately fed the Balena Bianca formation unseen below us.
The trail then continued to descend along the base of some travertine cliffs beneath the road we were on before crossing over a bridge spanning the Fosso Bianco (roughly 150m from the trailhead).
Beyond the bridge, the trail continued to descend as it curled back downstream alongside the Fosso Bianco, where we encountered an office and a person collecting money to continue further.
This was where we paid our 2 euros per person to continue, and we then continued to descend the declining trail before eventually reaching the famed Balena Bianco (White Whale) formation.
During our visit, we noticed that the upper reaches of the hot springs here actually exhibited a green color, which could be a function of the algae that thrive here as well as perhaps a slight acidity to the water itself.
As for the prime bathing spots, the water coming from the Fosso Bianco was actually cold, but the closer we got to the fenced off hot springs area, the warmer (and more comfortable) the water became.
There were even white mud in the water that both Julie and Tahia had fun applying (kind of reminiscent of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland).
Anyways, as I explored a bit further along the trail, I then got in front of the famed Balena Bianca formation, which was basically a large travertine formation with small terraces as well as stalactite-like formations fronting grottos.
Some fencing and infrastructure had been set up to try to prevent or at least discourage people from climbing onto the White Whale formation.
Meanwhile, another fence was set up to try to limit the people from further eroding a stream bank of the Fosso Bianco directly beneath the White Whale and downstream of some intermediate cascades.
Continuing further downstream, there were a couple more nice thermal waterfalls that were also nice for bathing as well as less busier than the area both before and beneath the White Whale formation.
This was about as far as most people went concerning the Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs, but the trail actually kept going further downstream.
Going Beyond the White Whale
Beyond the Balena Bianca, the trail became a bit more vegetated while passing by a few more minor travertine cascades across from someone’s property (fronted by a blue fence).
Continuing further for about another 150m, the trail then went by a couple more interesting travertine waterfalls (perhaps no more than 3m each) before the trail then reached a steep decline.
The trail actually kept going even further down along the Fosso Bianco, but as far as I was concerned, this was my turnaround point.
Overall, according to my trip logs, I had hiked roughly 1.4km round trip (including the optional detour well-downstream of the Balena Bianca).
It was an upside down hike so it was pretty much mildly all uphill on the way back to the car.
We wound up spending around 90 minutes away from the car, which was about average based on our observations of how much time other people spent here.
As I stated before, the secret is definitely out with this waterfall, but it’s still visually appealing, and the ability to soak in comfortably warm waters was an added bonus.
While I’ve seen some people prefer the Cascate del Mulino di Saturnia over the Bagni San Filippo, we personally liked this one better as it was less of a party scene during our late November 2023 visit.
Best of all, Julie and Tahia didn’t notice any red worms that were definitely present at the Cascate del Mulino di Saturnia.
The Bagni San Filippo Hot Springs and Waterfalls were located beneath the town of Bagni San Filippo near Campiglia d’Orcia in the Siena Province of the Tuscany Region. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the Tuscany Tourism Board website.
Bagni San Filippo with its hot springs and waterfalls are located in the southern end of the Tuscany Region near Campiglia d’Orcia, roughly 30km north of its border with the Lazio Region (of which Rome is the capital).
That said, our drive from Bagno Vignoni to Bagni San Filippo was roughly 30 minutes.
So from San Quirico d’Orcia, we had a choice of going straight southeast along the regional road (or strada regionale) SR2 or taking a more roundabout way via the town of Pienza.
That latter option might be the only way to go because the SR2 was closed between San Quirico d’Orcia and its junction with the SP53 during our late November 2023 visit.
Anyways, assuming SR2 was available, we’d head southeast on it for about 20km to its turnoff for Via Fosso Bianco or provincial road SP61.
Once on the SP61, we then drove another 3km towards the town of Bagni San Filippo, where there’s a turnoff to the left leading to a one-way road leading right down to the town of Terme San Filippo.
Then, we’d slowly drive roughly 150-200m keeping an eye out for parking space on the right, which is metered (there’s a meter maid towards the upper end of this parallel parking stretch).
After parking the car and possibly feeding the meter maid (the credit card reader wasn’t working during our visit), we then walked towards the start of Terme San Filippo town, where the trailhead was.
Overall, this drive should take between 30-60 minutes.
Had we taken the more roundabout way via Pienza, then we’d follow the SP146 northeast of San Quirico d’Orcia for about 9km towards Pienza before continuing south along the SP18 for another 13km or so.
Then, we’d follow the SP53 south for another heading south on the SP53 for about 5km before following the SP40 for another 5 km towards the SR2.
Once on the SR2, then we’d continue south for another 4-5km or so before turning left onto the SP41 before going south on the SP40 or Via Fosso Bianco, which led us the remaining 3km to the one-way turnoff leading into Terme San Filippo.
This drive would take around 45-60 minutes or so.
For geographical context, San Quirico d’Orcia is 29km (over 30 minutes drive) southwest of Montepulciano, about 47km (about an hour drive) southeast of Siena, 71km (over an hour drive) northeast of Grosseto, 94km (about 90 minutes drive) west of Perugia, 120km (under 2 hours drive) south of Florence, and 196km (over 2.5 hours drive) northwest of Rome.
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