Monsummano Terme and its environs
Located in the center of the Valdinievole, Montecatini is a tourism-oriented town. Famous during the Belle Epoque as an important international spa center, it was frequented by artists, as well as musicians like Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. Several documents from the Middle Ages speak of Montecatini Castello, today known as Montecatini Alto. Even back then, it was a spa known to the Romans, which would rise later on the plain because of the city’s salt waters.
Nonetheless, the conception of a modern spa city is owed to Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany, who visited Montecatini in 1772. In order to cope with the continuous epidemics to which the town was subject, the grand duke had the land reclaimed. Next the thermo-mineral waters – considered particularly beneficial for the digestive system and the liver – were channeled, resulting in the creation of several large swimming pools, so as to provide the city with a new layout.
Most of the beautiful buildings in this spa town are due to its period of maximum development and particularly to the Art Nouveau style. The nine historical spas are not to be missed. Of particular interest are the Terme Tamerici, the Terme Leopoldine, and the Terme Tettuccio, which were built during the Leopoldine period and restored in 1928. Together with their magnificent exotic garden, these establishments are one of the most famous and most photographed.
In addition to the spa park, there are the D. Scalabrino Museum of the Academy of Art, with works by L. Viani, G. Chini, A.Dupre, and Primo Conti; the Sesana Hippodrome, built in 1916; the Palazzina Regia; the Padiglione dei Sali; and the town hall. Moreover, the city is adorned by a series of beautiful contemporary fountains from the 20th century. Finally, a visit to Montecatini Alto by funicular is absolutely recommended. Today Montecatini periodically offers its guests events and exhibitions of cultural interest nationally and internationally.
On the web: http://www.montecatini.it/index.html