As the weather gets cooler here in the Tuscan Maremma, I can’t think of anything better than enjoying some much needed ‘me time’ away from the kids and hubby on a spa day.

I’ll admit, I’m not that much of a spa girl. In the summer, a sauna or Turkish bath is the last thing I want to do when it’s 30°C outside and the sun has the capacity to melt upon contact.

But in the wintertime, when the cold clings to you like a revealing swimsuit and you just can’t seem to shake the chill – now that’s when I start dreaming about a spa day!

You might not believe me, but the Maremma has more than its far share of spa retreats.

We might be provincial Tuscany and we might love thick slices of cheese, freshly baked bread and ruddy cheeks, but we also like the finer things in life, every so often anyway.

And like all good Italians, we’ll try anything once… especially if it’s free. So in the spirit of pampering before Christmas, I thought I’d share my top three Maremman spa resorts for any budget.

1. Saturnia Hot Springs. Cost: Free!

The Saturnia hot springs are the place to go if you want to have a do-it-yourself spa day on the ultimate budget… i.e free!

The Cascate del Mulino Waterfalls and Gorello River are both open to the public all year round and both brimming with blissfully warm water. We’re talking 37°C, all year round.

For many Maremmani, this is their idea of the perfect spa day. They can spend hours soaking in the naturally carved pools with the waterfall at their backs and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside in front of them.

For centuries, the thermal water that fills these pools is said to have miraculous curative properties, thanks to the presence of sulfur.

If you have a minor circulatory, respiratory, muscular or dermatological problem, one dip in the hot springs and you’re said to be well on your way to being cured. Might be true, might not be, but people have sworn by it since the time of the Etruscans and Romans.

In terms of spa treatments, the hot springs are, as disgusting as this sounds, the ideal breeding grounds for thermal plankton. The plankton works as a natural exfoliant and moisturizer. All you have to do is rub some on your skin and let it soak in.

It might not sound like the most pleasant thing to do, but it really does work. Once you’ve washed the plankton off, you feel like you’ve had the most thorough and effective facial and skin peel imaginable.

Down the road at the Terme di Saturnia Spa Centre, you can pay up to €30 for a facial with this grey and particularly slimy substance. It’s incredible, miraculous even, especially if you’re prone to acne or have slightly oily skin, like me.

3. Argentario Golf Resort and Spa. Cost: starting at €20

If you’re looking for a spa day that’s a little more luxurious than the free hot springs, but won’t cost you the earth, visit the Argentario Golf Resort near Porto Ercole.

To be honest, I can’t believe this spa is so cheap. The resort is palatial and undeniably chic. The Argentario Coast is about as VIP is it comes in the Maremma, and the spa complex offers absolutely every treatment you can think of.

For €20, you can spend a full day indulging in the sauna, Turkish bath and heated swimming pools.

Add an extra €15 and you can use the bio sauna, Finnish sauna, aromatic Turkish bath with starry sky or thalassotherapy, heated showers, lounge area with free tea, hydromassage, in-water fitness tracks, salt bath, solarium and gym.

I think that’s more than enough to treat yourself with!

3. La Melosa Resort. Cost: €140

La Melosa in Roccalbegna is day spa mecca in the Maremma. It is the height of opulence and relaxation… worth the splurge, especially if you’re celebrating your honeymoon or anniversary!

For €140, you’ll be treated to a stay in the Turkish Baths, an hour long massage, robes and slippers to keep and lunch or dinner at their Michelin rated restaurant.

La Melosa is located high in the hills of the Maremman countryside, and the atmosphere out here is amazing.

Everything is family-run. The spa centre is part of a converted a turn-0f-a-century farm manor. The owners took great care to ensure everything was faithfully restored and blended with the gorgeous open fields and pine forests outside.

A spa day here is beautifully intimate and private. You can book the entire centre for yourself and add on as many extra treatments as you like.

The resort also makes their own line of spa oils and perfumes, which I’ve always thought was particularly pampering.

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