Montecatini Terme: the born of an international hot spring resort town
The history of the thermal baths of Montecatini begin in the second hal of the 18th century. In that period the ruler of the Granducato di Toscana was the Granduca Pietro Leopoldo; he is very important in this story because he conducted the necessary reclamation work in the area of Valdinievole. These works were fundamental to the development of the city that at the end of the 18th century was structured along the major avenues as we can see today.
Montecatini Terme acquires the role of prestigious health resort in the early 1900s. This is the period in which rise of large hotels and facilities related to recreation and relaxation. We are at the beginning of the twentieth century and the most popular style is what in Italy is called Liberty (art nouveau); and in fact in Montecatini we can still appreciate numerous buildings marked by the grace and elegance of the art nouveau style.
The waters of Montecatini
The thermal waters of Montecatini come from four sources: Leopoldina, Regina, Tettuccio and Rinfresco. Each of these waters have specific properties that are used to treat various ailments relating especially to the liver and intestine.
Things to do in in Montecatini Terme: monuments and spa resorts
We begin our visit from the main square, Piazza del Popolo, that is located near the train station Montecatini Centro. From the square starts viale Verdi, the city’s main road axis; along this nice boulevard we find all the main monuments and the spas of Montecatini.
Passed the first stretch of the Avenue we find the Palazzina Regia (1783) built by Pietro Leopoldo and the Palazzo comunale that houses the Museum MO. C. A (Montecatini Contemporary Art).
Continuing on the final stretch of viale Verdi is the Excelsior, the first of the spas, the Terme Leopoldine (1777) and the spas Tamerici (1901) and Regina (1920s). A little further on, at the end of the Avenue, we arrive at the monumental Tettuccio built in neoclassical style in 1779. Another spa, the Terme Redi, is located in viale Alessandro Bicchierai.
Toward Montecatini Alto
At this point we have to take the funicular to ascend to Montecatini Alto. The funicular station is in viale Diaz, just beyond the Museo di arte contemporanea dell’Accademia d’arte “Dino Scalabrino”. The Academy has a large collection of works from the 19th century onwards by Italian and foreign artists.