TOURISM AND WELLNESS
The always charming hill of Monsummano looks down from above at you, the nearby village of Montevettolini with its sense of tranquility, and the immense natural expanse of vegetation that extends as far as Fucecchio and the Pisan mountains. This perfect picture-postcard is seen as soon as Monsummano Terme’s historical center is left behind. After a few curves and a slight climb, an underground world of well-being appears.
We are at the entrance to Grotta Giusti, a spa paradise with a unique, surprise-filled story. Today it has become an avant-garde hotel known worldwide.
It all began in 1849 in a lime quarry owned by the Giusti family. During some work, the workers moved a large boulder, revealing a hidden cavity. Immediately, they were convinced that there was water inside.
The entrance was thus enlarged. Some volunteers descended into the natural well where they found themselves facing an unexpected sight: underground corridors, stalactites and stalagmites and a pool of hot water. This is how spa treatments came to Monsummano, where the water’s temperature today is equal to the human body’s (35°).
All the same, how is this phenomenon possible? Some of the rainwater that falls on Monsummano Alto hill seeps through the calcareous rocks to a depth of 900 meters, where it is warmed by the surrounding rocks. Now less dense, the water rises along the fault until it reaches the cave. It is estimated that this cycle takes 50 years, just to give an idea of the magic of this place.
This magic brought health benefits as one sweats more when inside the cave. Furthermore, in the 19th century, the workers who discovered the cave began to claim health benefits from it as various joints pains from before had disappeared.
Obviously, news like this began to spread within a short time. Therefore, the Giusti family decided to build the original spa to ensure that people visiting the cave’s miraculous atmosphere would have more agreeable accommodations.
The fame of the “Bagni di Vapore“, or steam baths, spread rapidly. Even Giuseppe Garibaldi noted the cave’s success. Thus, the Royal Hotel was built in 1880. Among its guests was Giuseppe Verdi, who called Grotta Giusti “the eighth wonder of the world“.
Today Grotta Giusti is a modern spa where monthly events are organized at the outdoor swimming pools with naturally heated water, which are even more fascinating in wintertime. Over the years, work has been done to secure the cave route. Now Monsummano Terme is known worldwide for its cave diving, with thousands of divers from Italy and elsewhere having enjoyed this unique experience.
On the web:
Grotta Giusti Resort, Golf and Spa
Via Grotta Giusti, 171