Taking a detour on our way to Tuscany, we experienced the glories of the natural thermal springs that are scattered across this part of italy. Following sketchy directions and vague road signs, we arrived in a clearing just outside the small village of Saturnia. Seeing cars dotted through a small field, we parked and heard the sound of falling water as soon as we got out of the car. A short stroll along the dusty foot path through the hedgerow brought us to the spring and what a sight it was! A spectacular tumble of frothy green and white water burbling and sloshing over smooth white limestone rocks. People of all ages were up to their necks in the little pools amidst the falls and the heartier were happily swimming against the current or treading water in the wider basin at the bottom of the springs. It’s true, there is a definite tang of sulphur in the air but the beauty and surprise of this magnificent spot, filled with people who had strolled in to enjoy it just as we had, was too tempting to resist. We made a dash for the car, a sneaky change into swim suits behind a convenient bush, and we were soon wallowing away in the silky, milky, luscious warm water . More proof for the old adage, “the best things in life are free.” A reviving lunch in the fine old square in the village was a bit more costly than the spring, but the superb quality of the delicious food and the kind and courteous attention of the charming maitre d’ were more delightful, unexpected surprises in this out of the way spot. We had to drag ourselves back to the road and back to the originally intended destination! We will certainly return to the springs, next time without our silver jewellery — who knew the tarnishing properties of sulphur!!