Art Nouveau and the 1900s in Montecatini
The town is best explored on foot: surrounded by the grand architectural designs of the thermal baths, under the loggias of the spa buildings, accompanied by the gurgling of fountains and small streams, and along the wide tree-lined boulevards lined with historic hotels, it has been a destination for international tourists since the early 20th century.
In town there are also recollections of the 1950s and the Dolce Vita of the 1960s, when Montecatini was one of the most glamorous destinations in Italy and a favourite destination among Hollywood celebrities, princes, emirs, writers, and politicians.
The harmonious aesthetics of the beautiful modern buildings as well as the gentle hills of Montecatini Alto (one of the most beautiful villages in Italy) in the background – which can also be reached by the stunning 19th-century red funicular railway – perfectly define that “architecture of pleasure” that enhances the well-being of visitors and residents alike during their stay in this town.
Giorgio De Chirico was also attracted to it. Furthermore, on one of his regular stays in the spa town, visiting Luigi Russo of the famous Barcaccia gallery (Montecatini-Rome), he drew the water mirror of Le Panteraie pool, populated by metaphysical bathers.
The swimming pool, designed by Pietro Porcinai in the 1950s, is the only pool, together with that of the Canzone del Mare on Capri, designed by the greatest Italian landscape architect of the 20th century, who also designed the large roof garden at the Terme Tettuccio in Montecatini.
Several films contribute to Montecatini Terme’s fame, as the town is chosen as a set by well-known directors. To give a few examples, sequences are filmed from Franco Zeffirelli’s Camping (1957), Anthony Asquith’s The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964), Mario Monicelli’s Amici Miei Atto II (1982), Nikita Michalkov’s Dark Eyes (1987), and Paolo Virzì’s Like Crazy (2016).