Pilgrim ways and thermal Spas – Slow tourism and wellness
Wellness Valley

Pilgrim ways and thermal Spas – Slow tourism and wellness

by /// August 31, 2021 /// Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Wellness Valley

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Wellness Valley

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If you want one more reason to embark on a journey along one of the many pilgrimage routes #InEmiliaRomagna, here’s a list of the routes that stop by thermal spas.

Today, more and more people are interested in spending their holidays surrounded by nature: this is why hiking is becoming an increasingly popular way of spending one’s free time, with trails being literally crowded with tourists (especially in spring and in autumn).

Whether this is your first rodeo or you are an experienced “pilgrim”, if you have decided to spend your next holiday walking where nature and history meet at every corner, why not add some thermal relaxation into the mix?

#InEmiliaRomagna there are many trails to choose from, but only 5 of them have a spa in their proximity: another wonderful experience to share with your hiking buddies. Check them out!

CAMMINO DI SAN VICINIO (ST. VICINIUS WAY)

This circular route can be started in any of its 14 stages (which are mostly in Emilia).

Dedicated to the saint of Sarsina, who was believed to be a miracle-worker, this route passes through the most important places in the Saint’s life and stunningly diverse landscapes, like the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park.
You will encounter peaceful retreats and spirituality centers, and hamlets drenched in natural beauty.

The route – which can be travelled also on horseback or mountain bike – is suitable for pilgrims and hikers of all ages and levels, who along the way are encouraged to collect all the stamps to earn their “pilgrim’s certificate”.

We are particularly interested in the 1st and 2nd stages (Sarsina – Bagno di Romagna and Bagno di Romagna – Camaldoli), ending and starting in the hamlet of Bagno di Romagna, which is also a stop of the Romea Germanica Way.

St. Vicinius’ Way | Ph. © Associazione-Cammino San Vicinio

VIA ROMEA GERMANICA (ROMEA GERMANICA WAY)

In the ancient pilgrimage route linking the German town of Stade to Rome, 11 stages (7 if we consider the cycling route) out of the total 97 are located in the Emilia-Romagna region, running through sacred places, natural landscapes and arts towns for over 250 km.

The route retraces the journey of Albert of Stade, a monk who lived in the German port town of Stade in the first half of 1200. Back from a journey to Rome, he began writing the so-called Annales, a chronicle of the most important ecclesiastical and political events of the time, including a list of the best routes to reach Rome.

In our region, the route passes various points of interest in terms of landscape, such as the Po Delta Park and the Foreste Casentinesi Park, and in terms of history and culture, such as FerraraRavenna, and Comacchio.
The route (including the cycle path) is not technically difficult: once you have collected all the stamps on your Credenziale, you will receive a Testimonium that will prove you completed the walk.

Once again, there are two stops in the thermal town of Bagno di Romagna: the 10th and 11th ones if you are on foot (Santa Sofia – Bagno di Romagna and Bagno di Romagna – Casa Santicchio).

Bagno di Romagna

Bagno di Romagna | Ph. © romagnatoscanaturismo.it

CAMMINO DI SANT'ANTONIO (ST. ANTHONY’S WAY)

This pilgrimage route follows the steps of one of the most famous and revered saints of the Catholic Church, St. Anthony of Padua. The “Lungo Cammino” route passes through the Emilia-Romagna region as well.

Just like the pilgrims of the past, take in the beautiful landscapes as you walk past picturesque towns along secluded paths surrounded by lush nature, and enjoy breathtaking dawns and sunsets full of beauty.

You will also have the chance to visit many parks: the Foreste Casentinesi National Park, the Gessi Bolognesi e Calanchi dell’Abbadessa Regional Park and the Vena del Gesso Romagnola Park.

The best time to walk this pilgrim way is from May to October and some distances can be traveled by bike.
At the beginning of the route, you will receive a passport (Credenziale) that once completed will qualify you to receive an Assidua (certificate of completion of pilgrimage).

And when you’ll reach Bologna (7th and 8th stage Castel Maggiore – Bologna and Bologna – Settefonti) don’t forget to take a well-deserved break and recharge your batteries.

Calanchi di Torranello, Parco Vena del Gesso Romagnola | Ph. Giosbriff WLE2019

Vena del Gesso Romagnola Park | Ph. Giosbriff WLE2019

VIA DEGLI DEI (PATH OF GODS)

Established as an Etruscan road and then completed by the Romans under consul Gaius Flaminius, this millennia-old route was once called “Flaminia Militare” and linked Florence to Bologna and the Po Plain: a sort of high-speed rail ahead of time.

Rediscovered by a group of hikers in the 1980s, it was named “Via degli Dei” (Path of Gods) for the names of the Mounts along the way (Mount Adonis, Mount Venus, Mount Juno).

Meandering through the most stunning landscapes of the Tosco-Emiliano Apennines, this path attracts more and more tourists and visitors that every year decide to reach the cities of Florence and Bologna in an alternative way, diving deep into the landscape and unspoiled nature of the surrounding mountains.

Along the way, you will discover stories, places, and emotions to live on foot or mountain bike, even with your four-legged friend. The path, divided into several stretches, is well-equipped and suitable for beginners too.

And what is more, in Bologna you will find two thermal spas where to unwind and regain strength.

Pilgrims Paths

Path of Gods – Ancient Roman Road | Ph. ArchivioAppenninoSlow

CAMMINO DI DANTE (DANTE’S WAY)

This 380-km circular route is steeped into nature and culture. Passing through some of the most beautiful places in Italy, this path follows the steps of poet Dante Alighieri as he was exiled from Florence.

Walking through century-old paths along the Apennine ridge between Tuscany and Romagna, green rolling hills will give way to small Medieval hamlets until you reach the two poles, Ravenna and Florence.

This is more than just a hiking path, it’s also a cultural, artistic, historical, philosophical, and spiritual journey, accompanied by the simple friendliness of Romagnoli and the proud loyalty of Tuscan people.

We are particularly interested in the 3rd and 4th stages (Oriolo – Brisighella and Brisighella – Gamberaldi) which end and start in the hamlet of Brisighella.

Brisighella - Dante's Way

Brisighella, Dante’s Way | Ph. TheCrowdedPlanet

STOPS WITH THERMAL SPAS

Bagno di Romagna

Bagno di Romagna Terme is a spa with ancient origins but modern facilities, which was already known in Roman times. It boasts three thermal baths where you will be overwhelmed by the exceptional friendliness and renowned hospitality of locals.

Ròseo Euroterme Wellness Resort has hyperthermal water (natural spring temperature above 45° C), an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor pool with waterfalls, and a brand-new wellness centre where you can enjoy the beneficial effects of its bicarbonate-alkaline-sulphurous waters.

Recharge your batteries with a de-stress stone mineral massage, a relaxing and energising philosophy massage, a foot reflex zone massage to improve the overall functioning of organs or a training session at the gym. Then, you can also choose one of the following massages: a relaxing shiatsu massage in thermal water, a bio thai sport active massage aimed at decontracting body muscles, or relaxing treatments with lotions, oils or mud for muscle tension relief.

The swimming pool and spa are open all day every day until after dinner time.


Set in the ancient Biozzi Palace, in the heart of the old town centre, Grand Hotel Terme Ròseo will warmly welcome you with its bicarbonate-alkaline-sulphurous hyperthermal waters at 45° and its Wellness Centre.
Here you can enjoy the thermal pool at 37° with 46 hot tubs (that can also be reserved for private sessions), a thermal cave, underwater sunbeds, and chromotherapy.

There are many massages to try out before or after hiking: grapeseed oil or relaxing-aromatic massages, ayurvedic massages for muscle tension relief, bioenergetic de-stress massages, decontracting massages, or candle massages. The pool is open all day until after dinner time on some days while the spa is open all day every day until after dinner time.

Hotel delle Terme Santa Agnese has its own thermal spring that has been known since the 1st century A.D. in Roman times. Here the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II “made these baths public and comfortable”.

You can enjoy the beneficial effects of its waters (bicarbonate-sulphurous-low mineral content water, sulphurous-bicarbonate water, bicarbonate-sulphurous-alkaline water) in natural caves, thermal pools with hot tubs, balneotherapy and Kneipp circuits.

Before or after a hike, there is nothing better than one of these treatments: energising massages chocolate or relaxing honey massages, reiki, lomi lomi or de-stress massages with essential oils, and the wellness training path. The facility is open seasonally (from March to January).

Bologna

Terme Felsinee covers more than 700 sqm with three pools differing in type, shape, size and depth, where you can enjoy the beneficial effects of their sulphurous and bicarbonate-sulphate waters.

There are many treatments to choose from: sauna, hammam, Kneipp circuits, crenotherapy in water at 37°C and specific packages, all including access to the gym: de-stress and fitness to tone up and regenerate body strength, to resume your walk in your best shape, or a massage to relieve “heavy legs” and relax after a long day’s walk.

They are open until after dinner time during the week, all day long on Saturdays and only in the afternoon on Sundays.


The bicarbonate-sulphate-calcic water with 18 trace elements of Terme di San Luca is another great option to relax and refuel. There are many options for men, women and couples: anti-stress, wellness and exclusive treatments to soothe your body and clear your mind. They are open till late during the week, all day long during the weekend but only until dinner time on Sundays.

Brisighella

Terme di Brisighella is set in a picturesque park and has been known for the beneficial properties of its thermal sulphurous waters rich in salts and iodine since ancient times. Here you can enjoy four different types of treatments: water-therapy, air-therapy, earth-therapy, and nature-therapy.

The facility is open for morning and afternoon sessions, only in the morning on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

UPDATE 2020 – The property is currently closed for renovation.

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