San Casciano dei Bagni: What a temple!

Val d'Orcia. Photo: Sara Groblechner

The Bagno Grande: two tubs (where for more than thirty years I have immersed myself, especially in winter), with steaming thermal water at a temperature of 47°C, face out over the Val d’Orcia, at the foot of the village of San Casciano dei Bagni, in Tuscany. A bit marginal, neglected, solitary, very different from the nearby Spa – the lively, world famous Fonteverde. But here is its revenge, delivered by a team of fervent archaeologists. Precisely in that sunny but marginal meadow, an ancient temple has been discovered whose base dates back to Etruscan and Roman times. It is dedicated to Apollo: the relative epigraph was found at the base of a staircase. This discovery downscales all local history and not only: the 16th-century Collegiate Church, the older bell tower, the castle, even the 15th-century altarpiece created by Orioli in Sienese style, are all contemporary artifacts in comparison. An all-Italian miracle, impossible elsewhere. This ancient land of ours has really spoiled us! But we are grateful to it, while awaiting further miracles. Here, miracles are always possible.

Archaeological site of the Temple of Apollo, San Casciano dei Bagni, Siena

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