HOT SPRINGS OF THE EUGANEI
The largest area of thermal springs in Europe is surrounded by the green embrace of the rolling Euganean Hills (Colli Euganei), an extraordinary natural oasis with an irresistible appeal for those who want to be healthy and enjoy the open air. Spas were traditionally seen as holiday destinations for the "sick", for people who, either elderly or affected by various pains or infirmities, sought at a spa relief thanks to the beneficial effects of their waters.
Nowadays, spas are increasingly being rediscovered as places of wellness and relax for anyone, not necessarily suffering from mobility or joint problems, who desires an "alternative" holiday, whether for just a weekend or a leisurely long stay, dedicated to complete relaxation and well-being.
The care and pamper of the body and its health is certainly well worth rediscovery, helping us to recharge our life and better face our hectic and busy schedules.
Self-care, or healthy hedonism, is one of the values sought by the tourists who choose a spa holiday in a quiet environment and in contact with nature.
The Colli Euganei Regional Park is an area rich in traditions and culture, and is of interest for its wines and gastronomy.
At Terme Euganee, the healthy waters have flowed for over three thousand years and created the largest and most famous spa in Europe. The beneficial effects of these waters are the basis for all the modern health and beauty treatments carried out in more than 120 spa hotels, where every guest is pampered and cared for with the utmost professionalism and attention. The thermal springs are found in a large basin at the foot of the Euganei Hills, a splendid natural amphitheatre made green by the rich vegetation. Here, the Mediterranean flora alternates to dense forests, while vineyards and olive groves intertwine with vast green fields crossed by a network of horse, cycle, and footpaths.
Three thousand years of history have left an incredible legacy, a rich historical and artistic heritage of vast proportions. Castles and walled cities are ideal destinations for a plunge back to the Middle Ages; nobles' villas and their ancient grounds are unique places to observe majestic elegant architecture; the refined gardens and centuries-old lush parks, the best place to roam and smell their rich essence. The secret of it all is always the waters. Starting from the uncontaminated basins at the foothills of the Alps at around 2000 metres of altitude, after a long underground route that enriches them of beneficial minerals (like sodium, potassium, magnesium, iodine and silicon), they resurface at the Terme Euganee at a temperature of 87 °C.
These waters, unique in the world, are behind the process of preparation, preservation and regeneration of a thermal mud that is unique for its salts, bromine and iodine, and for its healing properties. A wealth, this spa water, which for millennia has enriched the Euganean basin but that, although with roots in the distant proto-history, has remained unchanged until today.
Between the eighth and third centuries, the ancient Paleo-Venetians had here their water sanctuary, as evidenced by the archaeological remains of thousands of clay jars and small votive bronzes. In Roman times, between the first and second century A.D., the Fons Aponi (the spring of Aponus, one of the gods of the waters) was a most important and famous thermal spa, already used for its healing powers, and home to the mysterious cult of the Oracle of Geryon. Here, the young Tiberius, the future emperor, came to inquire of the oracle about his fate by rolling the dice in the sacred spring.
The springs were even appreciated by invaders like the barbarians, especially by Theodoric. After the first millennium, great renewed interest in the spa area was asserted with the development of new springs: San Daniele in Monte, Montirone ad Abano, and the baths at Stuva a Battaglia.
The enlightened and educated family Da Carrara, princes of Padua for most of the fourteenth century, initiated important studies on the thermal muds. These studies were continued by the School of Medicine at the University of Padua until the eighteenth century, when two new professorships were established specifically for the research in hydrotherapy.