When Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti encouraged the development of two thermal complexes in one of his favourite places in the early 20th century, he was building on a tradition which had started with the Romans, and continued through the centuries, treating famous historic characters such as Pope Boniface VIII and Michaelangelo.
Fiuggi is a famous Italian thermal town, originally called Felcia and later Anticoli. Already well known to the Romans, Fiuggi’s water, with its diuretic property was used in the treatment of nephrolithiasis by famous historic people, such as Pope Boniface VIII and Michelangelo. Fiuggi has also hosted a wide range of famous visitors in recent times and was popular with film stars of the 1950s and 60s.
Due to its close and strategic proximity to the cities of Rome and Naples, Fiuggi welcomes large numbers of tourists each year in its grand hotel facilities and at important cultural events and conferences.
The medieval hill town, with its cobbled streets and stunning views over the surrounding landscape is a relaxing settlement built on a very human scale, which also offers an enchanting natural heritage, the charm of the old town centre and a genuine (and tasty) gastronomic tradition.
The annual Fiuggi Family Festival is a film festival entirely dedicated to families. The Festival is built on recognition of the fact that the biggest successes of recent years have been feature films dedicated to families.
Michelangelo Buonarroti said that Fiuggi water, "the water which breaks the stone", cure him of the "the only kind of stone I couldn't love" - the one in his kidneys.
Fiuggi has been renowned for its drinking cure for centuries, with some well-known patients having regained their health after treatment with the water. In his Naturalis Historia in 77 CE, Pliny the Elder described the waters as “Fiugi inter collium Ernicorum aquam saluberrimam” – saying that the waters were “The most wholesome water of the hills”. In recent years, five big tanks that can be dated back to the Republican age have been excavated close to the Anticolana Spring.
Ancient Vatican manuscripts, dating back to the fourteenth century, show expenses for 187 consignments of “anticolae” water (until 1911 the medieval borough was named Anticoli di Campagna) transported from its source to Rome between 1299 and 1302 by two “cursores” (papal couriers), from Perugia. They brought the miraculous water to Pope Boniface VIII who was suffering with his kidney stones which were known as “malus lapidis”. Treatment was so successful that in February of 1302 Messer Ludovico Martinez wrote to Raymond, Bishop of Valencia, stating : “Our Pope Boniface is now young and healthy ….”
Michelangelo Buonarroti was tormented with his kidney stones from 1548 to 1549. After just one month of treatment from the Anticoli (Fiuggi) spring, he was able to write to his nephew Leonardo stating that: “… I am much better, I was taken for dead and so I thought.” Then, in another letter dated 8th June 1549, he wrote to his nephew Leonardo again: “Regarding my illness… I’m very well. I drank for about two months, morning and evening, from a water fountain which is forty miles from Rome, which breaks the stone, and it broke mine ….”
In the 19th century, especially after Italy’s unification, the fame of the thermal water and the proximity to Rome encouraged the development of thermal and tourist activities, and in 1900, Giovanni Giolitti, Prime Minister who was really fond of Anticoli di Campagna-Fiuggi, further helped to develop the thermal establishments.
Today Fiuggi water is also well-known throughout Italy as a bottled brand, with its distinctive bright green bottle and striking blue and red logo.
Fiuggi’s Water, well known by Romans, is classified as low in mineral content and therapeutic, and plays a central role thanks to its effectiveness in treating some kidney diseases, because it breaks down kidney stones and prevents the formation of new ones. Following several scientific trials, we know that is a macro molecule which attacks and crushes the stones is the responsible for what used to be regarded as miraculous cures. Fiuggi water is also famous for other beneficial effects and is regarded as a “fountain of youth” by many. Inhalation and physiotherapy treatments are offered to guests. There are even some reports even call it “liquid viagra”!
In Fiuggi there are two hydrothermal complexes: “Fonte Bonifacio VIII” and “Fonte Anticolana” run by a private company (Terme di Fiuggi SPA & Golf).
The park of Fonte Bonifacio VIII occupies an area of 60.000 square metres and is distinguished by its original monumental Liberty-style entrance to an enchanting valley as well as some incredible 1960s architecture by architect Luigi Moretti, which has transformed the upper end of the valley into a drinking spa complete with concert and exhibition spaces, arcades of shops and places simply to sit in the shade. The wooded hills contain hundreds of fountains, so that spa-goers can continue to drink the water while taking gentle exercise in the therapeutic spa landscape. In between drinking the waters, guests are able to mingle, dance, play tennis, listen to concerts, wander round exhibitions in the centre, or just relax. The spa can accommodate up to 25,000 at a time!
The park of “Fonte Anticolana” occupies an area of 150.000 square metres. The hydrothermal complexes are immersed in the woods of chestnut-trees, oak-trees and pine-trees, and are well-provided with medical centres for check-ups during the hydro-thermal treatment, complete with modern diagnostic tools.
The Fonte Anticolana , also called “Fonte Nuova”, because it was built in the 1920s, is located inside the large Fonte Anticolana Fiuggi park. The vast park also hosts tennis courts, bowling green, mini golf, table tennis, a large space for children’s games and an orchestra. Fonte Anticolana is open from 1st April to 30th November and is home to the Inhalation Centre and the modern Physiotherapy Centre.
The Terme di Fiuggi have recently reopened their gates for well-being, music and culture, under a new private company (a consortium of entrepreneurs operating in the tourism sector; from the renovation of the golf course and the club house to the renovation of the thermal parks, from the development of photovoltaics to the opening of the new wellness centre). Find out more here.
Bonifacio VIII, Anticolana
Earliest known use:
The waters have a low mineral content.