Holidays in Montecatini Terme and Alto
A funicular railway climbs from a charming spa resort to its fortified medieval counterpart
Officially recognised since the fifteenth-century for the medicinal properties of its natural springs, the picturesque town of Montecatini Terme in northern Italy's beautiful Tuscany region is nowadays the country's largest spa resort and one of the most important spa towns in Europe. Conveniently situated between the cities of Lucca and Florence, Montecatini Terme is not only a wonderful destination in its own right, but also provides an ideal base from which to explore the many highlights and natural beauty of Tuscany.
Located at the foot of a hill upon which the medieval fortress town of Montecatini Alto sits, Montecatini Terme endured turbulent times defined by successive wars between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. When lasting peace was finally established local entrepreneurs capitalised on Montecatini Terme's natural resources, building three grand spa baths and the town, then known as Bagni di Montecatini ('Baths of Montecatini') began to find favour with the Italian aristocracy as a revitalising and health-boosting resort. International renown soon followed, and by the twentieth century the town had gained its new name and many new hotels, shops and restaurants to cater for increasing visitor numbers.
Montecatini Terme remains hugely popular today, it's pretty tree-lined avenues, parks, historic architecture and spa baths rewarding to explore on foot, whilst a spectacular funicular railway ascends the hill to the equally delightful and historic Montecatini Alto above.