Relax in Lombardy? Discover seven places to detox!
Much more than slow rituals and four-hand massages. In Lombardy you can live well by soaking in hot, relaxing spring water while gazing at the mountains. Or you can experience the well-being offered by peaceful, sacred or high-energy places. Here are seven places to detox! From Valle Brembana to the Comasco area.
1. San Pellegrino Terme – Valle Brembana
The play of light on water is bewitching. Visitors to San Pellegrino Terme (opposite the hot springs operated by the QC Terme group) will be welcomed by a new brightly-lit entrance designed by Matteo Ragni, celebrating the symbiosis between humans and water. This relationship is nothing new to San Pellegrino Terme, which has been in business since the early 20th century. At that time, the hot springs turned this small site in Val Brembana into a conglomerate of Belle Epoque architecture. Now people come here for waterfalls and couples’ massages.
2. Sirmione – Lake Garda
The hot springs at the Hotel Promessi Sposi date from 1890, making them the oldest spas and de rigueur as part of any Grand Tour to Lake Garda. The great attraction of Terme di Sirmione (two spas and various hotels) is the east-facing open-air swimming pool heated with spring water on the lake shore. As the sun goes down, a cloud of steam rises over the pool against a sunset backdrop: a picturesque setting for a dip after Kniepp walking or ayurvedic massage.
3. Bormio - Valtellina
Bormio hot springs at the foot of the Stelvio are high on the wish list of walkers, cyclists or walkers. The spectacular Bagni Vecchi at the entrance of Valdidentro seem to grow out of the rock. The more urban Terme di Bormio around the Cinglaccia spring are a tonic for body and mind. Water at a temperature of 37°- 40° fills indoor and outdoor pools. When bathing you can follow a trail encircling a biosauna heady with alpine herbs and invigorating showers.
4. Boario Terme – Valle Camonica
An evergreen slow travel destination. Four springs rising amidst the mountains and meadows of Valcamonica feed the Boario Terme spa centre. With a spa, beauty centre and adventure park for young and old, the Baths offer beauty and well-being treatments. Apart from indoor and outdoor pools, the spa features a Finnish sauna, ice waterfall and salt room. A brightly coloured state-of-the-art children’s area allows children to have fun as they take inhalation treatments.
5. Santa Caterina del Sasso – Lake Maggiore
Some places are difficult to get to and the journey is in itself a form of relaxation and meditation. The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, outside Leggiuno in the Varese area, is reached by descending 268 steps or climbing 80 steps. In summer, you can take a boat or the recently installed lift. This slow approach gives a special flavour to any visit to the 13th century monastery complex: three buildings founded by a rich merchant out of gratitude for escaping a shipwreck on Lake Maggiore. Art, history and a deep feeling of peace balanced on a rocky crag.
6. Valvestino – Lake Garda
Quintessential Feng Shui. A model of alignment respecting the ancient Taoist art of building. Whether or not you believe that Valvestino in the Alta Garda near Brescia is a beneficial place, it remains unique. Ideally aligned along north-west and south-east axes, the valley's name has evolved from Monte Vesta, seat of a vestal temple¬ and it has a special quality. You can get a lovely glimpse of the springs amongst the barns of Cima Rest in the village of Magasa (with its statue dedicated to Women's Work), among the ancient pines of Armo, in the wilderness of the Vesta stream and on the Lake Valvestino fjord, which seems to have been transported straight from Scandinavia.
7. Lake Montorfano – Como
A tiny lake measuring 0.47 km2 at 394 metres in altitude with crystal-clear waters and a mysteriously icy feel. The fairy-tale Lake Montorfano, a pool on the Briantei river near Como, is actually a source of natural cryotherapy. The water is much colder than you’d expect at that altitude and latitude and differs from all the other lakes on the Briantei. It’s a spectacular sight when it freezes over completely in winter. The atypically round Lake Montorfano invites you to dive into the surrounding woodland. Small coves and decking lead to the Lido. Make like Scandinavians plunging into the North Sea. If you can bear the cold, your legs will thank you for the tonic.