The town of
The first hints of the therapeutic qualities of Montecatini springs, initially known as “Bagni di Montecatini”, date back to Roman times. However, it was not until the medieval period, with Ugolino Caccini, known as Ugolino da Montecatini, that their significance was realised. Author of one of the oldest treaties on balneotherapy “balneorum Italiae proprietatibus ac virtutibus” (Venice 1553), in which he describes the properties of the waters of Montecatini that he studied.
However, the first thermal spring dates back to 1370, when the Republic of Florence covered it with a roof, giving it the name “Bagno del Tettuccio”, which later became the Tettuccio Spa we know today.
Montecatini Terme is located in the Valdinievole, which was once a marshy area that was linked to Ponte a Cappiano (Fucecchio) by locks. As a result, stagnant water accumulated, which was detrimental to the health of the population, leading to a number of malaria epidemics over the years.
There was also a large portion of these territories under the control of the Medici family, and various reclamation policies were implemented. However, these measures were insufficient.
It was only with the advent of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, led by Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine, that a reclamation project was undertaken in 1772. This allowed for the elimination of marshy waters with the demolition of the locks and fishponds of Ponte a Cappiano.
Several other health-giving springs were discovered and once channelled, a restoration of the town was initiated that transformed it into a modern spa town. The tourist offer has diversified since the beginning of the 20th century, becoming a combination of care, recreation, sociability, and close contact with nature. Illustrious personalities such as musicians, nobles, politicians and film personalities have visited the spa town over the years. Thanks to these people, Montecatini became an internationally renowned cultural, political and social meeting point.
The important international recognition obtained in July 2021, which saw Montecatini Terme included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, together with ten other European spa towns, “The Great Spa Towns of Europe”, represents a significant boost for this town as well as an important international recognition.
The Outstanding Universal Value, one of the prerequisites for being a World Heritage Site, is present in all the cities. This is recognised by the fact that they provide evidence of the phenomenon of European thermalism at its peak, from 1700 to 1930. In a therapeutic-recreational landscape interconnected with nature, the towns retain their unique urban conformation centred around the spa district. Since this value is Universal, it has meaning that transcends physical and temporal boundaries, and must therefore be preserved for the benefit of all and future generations.