This year we start with Montcatini Terme.  Since ancient times, the area has been renowned for its many thermal springs. Montecatini Terme is the biggest spa town in Italy, and is famed for its scenery, springs, spas, thermal baths and peaceful atmosphere. The town has long been a popular choice for those looking to relax,and get away from the daily grind. It truly is a place you’ll never want to leave.

Montecatini s a city garden, easily traversed everywhere on foot. Its distinctive feature is its very own park, a vast natural area that serves as the town’s wonderful green lung. The welcoming atmosphere, tradition of fine hospitality, excellent food,  and proximity to tourist sites such as Florence, Lucca and Pisa all make it an ideal destination for both a health and wellness stay and a creative arty escape. Montecantini offers a time-honoured history and culture, of which the hills surrounding the valley, with their castles and medieval villages provide ample evidence.

A Little History…
Relics found around Montecatini date back to the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods and are probably from the nomadic hunting people who frequented the area. The Romans were almost certainly aware of the beneficial properties of the springs of Montecantini, since the Via Cassia, a busy route connecting Pistoia, Florence and Lucca passed nearby. It is only at the end of the 12th century that official documents mention the “castle” of Montecantini, located at the top of a hill with two rock needles, separated by a dip in the center, similar to a basin (catino), which probably gives the town its name.

princess grace
Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, Italy, May 1957 — Grace and Rainier of Monaco.

At the turn of the twentieth century, tourism expanded amongst the well-to-do. Montecantini Terme, with its superb hotels and unspoilt setting, presented an ideal opportunity to combine thermal bathing with holidaying and relaxation.

In the 1950’s and 60’s a host of chic restaurants, theaters and night clubs opened, and celebrities like Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly, not to mention Verdi, became regular visitors. This Creative Escape is perfect for beginners, hobbyists, aspiring artists and illustrators, painters, sketchers and picture book makers.