Nestled among the rolling hills of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines lies the charming town of Porretta Terme, easily accessible from Florence via regional train. For centuries, this picturesque destination has been known for its natural hot thermal spring waters, steeped in renowned legends and histories of healing.
The thermal pool of the Terme di Porretta offers visitors the chance to fully immerse themselves in the water and benefit from its medicinal powers, including calming the nervous system and the development of new skin tissue. Those suffering from osteoarticular diseases, as well as children and pregnant women, are especially encouraged to take a dip. At around 35 degrees Celsius and with views of the park through a giant, wall-to-wall window, it is easy to let time slip by. Beside the main pool, a sauna and two smaller plunge pools (22 and 35 degrees Celsius) with hydromassage jets, promise to complete the experience and leave you feeling deeply relaxed and restored.
The sulphurous and salso-bromo-iodic water flowing from these deep, ancient springs has exceptional healing properties and the modern facility here is set up to offer cures. At the heart of the community lies the Terme di Porretta Spa, a healthcare facility utilizing the waters that have provided generations with therapeutic treatments. Types of therapy available at the Porretta Terme establishment include rehabilitation of the respiratory, musculoskeletal and peripheral vascular systems, as well as treatments for rhinogenic deafness, gastrointestinal disease, dermatological and even gynecological disorders.
From addressing respiratory and vascular conditions to healing gastrointestinal ailments and dermatological issues, the spa stands as a testament to the enduring role of the thermal springs in the town’s history. Depending on personal circumstances, stays at the central spa may even be fully covered as medical expenses through an agreement between the facility and the Italian National Health Service due to the water’s effectiveness at alleviating ailments.
In use since antiquity, the springs and spa facilities enjoyed a major surge in attention during the 19th-century. In 1884, waters from the Porretta Vecchia source were redirected by a tunnel system and two pre-existing thermal establishments were joined. Another spring was also discovered while the tunnel was under construction, the Porretta Nuova spring, which remains in use to this day.
The nearby historic Terme Alte di Porretta, with its health-giving waters and breathtaking natural surroundings, stands as the backbone of Porretta Terme’s heritage.
The American Friends of Terme Alte di Porretta seeks to recover and return this treasure to the national and international stage. Recent activities of the fund include restoration of the Terme Alte di Porretta, aimed at reviving the ancient spa complex. The initiative emphasizes the importance of immediate action from those willing and able to contribute to the greater cause of preserving the world’s cultural heritage.
In a significant endeavor to safeguard this international cultural heritage of immense value for us all, the American Friends of Terme Alte di Poretta has been recognized and is proudly hosted by the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS), a public charity as defined by Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the IRC.
The U.S. launch of the American Friends of Terme Alte di Porretta unfolded during the Annual NIAF anniversary and Gala in Washington DC in October 2023. The event was graced with the distinguished presence of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden—the first Italian-American First Lady in U.S. history. The gala served as a fitting platform to spotlight the cultural ties between the U.S. and Italy, underscoring the significance of the American Friends Fund’s mission. Attaining 501 nonprofit organization status through KBFUS adds a new layer of commitment to the preservation cause, setting the stage for transformative projects and renovations in the town of Porretta Terme.
Individuals passionate about preserving this international treasure are invited to support the American Friends of Terme Alte di Porretta Foundation. Contributions play a crucial role in the ongoing Porretta Terme restoration, preservation and reopening. For those eager to support this noble cause, the American Friends of Terme Alte di Porretta provides a straightforward way to pledge support. Interested individuals can visit www.termealteporretta.com and click the “Donate Now” button. Detailed plans for the use of funds, along with additional information, can be found on the website. As a 501(c)(3) charity, U.S. donors enjoy full tax exemption, making their contributions not only impactful but also financially advantageous.
The official Italian legal name of the Terme Alte non-profit organization is: “Associazione Salute, Benessere, Turismo e Alimentazione,” which translates to “Health, Wellbeing, Tourism and Nutrition.” It functions as a non-profit association and is publicly listed on the KBFUS website. (Sofia Barsan/additional reporting by Sophie Holloway)