The 10 best spas in Italy

Palazzo Fiuggi

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: FEELING FITTER

The Thermal waters at Fuiggi are legendary; their curative powers are said to restore the kidneys, balance the immune system and have been famously imbibed by Popes, princesses and even Michelangelo. Today, both sipping the water and soaking in the thalasso pools are still encouraged at this super smart, marble-clad medi-spa, just 50 minutes drive from Rome.

The comprehensive week-long programmes cover most modern malaises: Complete Life Rewind (ageing), Optimal Weight (bloating), Deep Detox (living to excess) and Immuno Boost (stress). The curative therapies range from sound healing to virtual reality workouts that supercharge core strength. The gym, which is set in the former ballroom, is a place of beauty and overseen by the wonderful Armando Vinci, a sports and postural trainer who may uncover that niggling back pain is actually a stomach problem.

Address: Palazzo Fiuggi, Via dei Villini, 34, 03014 Fiuggi FR, Italy

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Palace Merano

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: RECOVERING FROM LONG COVID

The late dietician Dr Henri Chenot is often described as the founding father of the wellness movement and his fairytale palace retreat, founded 50 years ago, has lost none of its magic. The first European health spa to mix up eastern and western medicine, the loyal medical director Dr Massimiliano Mayrhofer (20 years service and counting) can intuitively read people’s problems in their pulses.

Guests are also analysed with a battery of high-tech diagnostic tests, looking at everything from vascular health to posture that forms the blueprint for bespoke wellnessprogrammes based on the pillars of a clean diet, lymphatic drainage and exercise. Post Covid, there is a focus on longevity and new Revital treatments have been added to improve emotional and physical strength. Ultimately Chenot is about better health rather than a short-lived cosmetic experience, and people delirious with exhaustion emerge revived and ready to take on life at full throttle.

Address: Palace Merano, Via Cavour, 2, 39012 Merano BZ, Italy

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Lefay Lake Garda

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: AN ENERGY KICK

Mist-covered forests, mountains and a sweeping view of Lake Garda will make even the most jaded spa-goer’s head swivel – and that’s before you’ve scratched the surface of the extensive spa offering. The hotel took full advantage of the last lockdown to completely renovate the interiors: clean white bedrooms feel comfy rather than stark and the lobby invites you to curl up on deep armchairs and drink in the views.

Although this is Italy, there is a strong Asian influence here, with authentic Moxibustion (mugwort burnt on the skin to stimulate energy through meridian points) and Tai Qi classes that help guests release physical and mental blockages. Don’t miss the five new wellness trails that feature al-fresco massage and Zazen Meditation (which helps overcome attachments to material things). At the end of the day, Lefay is all about rediscovering your joie de vivre.

Address: Lefay Lake Garda, Lago Di Garda, Via Angelo Feltrinelli, 136, 25084 Gargnano BS, Italy

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Preidlhof

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: A BETTER SLEEP

The mountains of south Tyrol, Alpine pastures and apple orchards make Preidlhof a pinch-me sort of spa. It is also the place to come to find the best version of yourself. Frazzled souls are reborn through eight spa ‘journeys’ devised by life coach and spa manager Patricia Porter Lynn, who skilfully mixes purpose with pampering.

Days revolve around an immersive six-floor sauna tower where sauna master Michael Niedermeier doses hot stones with essential oils for deep breathing exercises and to channel waves of heat across the body for the ultimate detox. Whether you are stargazing in the roof-top infinity pools or stretching it out with a hike in the woods, there is no better place to unplug and unwind. The best takeaway though, after a week of the clean Alpine air – you’re sure to sleep like a baby.

Address: Preidlhof, Via S. Zeno, 13, 39025 Naturno BZ, Italy

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L’Albereta

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: TONING UP

A stiletto click, yet a world away from the bustle of Milan, L’Alberta offers a breath of fresh air and space to lower your shoulders amid vine-covered hills and glorious manicured grounds. Some guests come here to feast, but on the flip-side you can check into the Chenot centre for a robust reboot. Fusing western medicine with alternative healing, programmes range from refreshing spa weekends to life-changing week-long detoxes, all designed to supercharge both mental and physical health.

The Chenot Diet promises to cleanse the body at a cellular level, reducing calories but without compromising on taste. Days are peppered with treatments: energy-giving acupuncture done with electric pulses rather than needles, Chinese cupping that works to wring out wrinkles and smooth pouchy pockets of fat. You leave lighter, brighter and vowing to return.

Address: L’Albereta, Via Vittorio Emanuele, 23, 25030 Erbusco BS, Italy

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Mezzatore

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: POLISHING SKIN

On a clear day you can see all the way over to Naples from Mezzatore’s 16th-century watchtower, but head down the staircase to the spa’s bougainvillea-framed thermal centre where the hotel’s private spring feeds into hydrotherapy pools with powerful jets and waterfalls to pummel away every ache or niggle. The mineral rich water is also used in facials (check out the new Bioloque Rechercher offering), colonics and even a highly effective ear cleansing ritual.

There are doctor-led preventative medicine programmes and aesthetic doctors on-hand too (the Profhilo skin moisturiser injections that give skin an instant glow are a must), but it’s the local healing mud used with the thermal waters that really works wonders on a wide range of conditions from respiratory disease, rheumatism and dermatitis.

Address: Mezzatore, 80075 Forio, Ischia, Italy

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Monastero Santa Rosa

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: A HONEYMOON HEALTH KICK

The nuns may have moved out over a century ago, but the church bell is still rung upon your arrival here. Dramatically perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, the old convent is set among herb gardens that border a wonderfully dramatic infinity pool. In keeping with the ecclesial feel, treatments use Santa Maria Novella products, with healing herbal creams and balms originally made by Florentine monks for Catherine de Medici.

The treatment rooms are set in the old wine cellar, their vaulted ceilings render them cool and quiet and the perfect place to enjoy a spine-tingling massage using hot candle wax, a nourishing bee-pollen facial or maybe an Aloe Coulis body wrap with ice poultices that takes the sting out of sunburnt skin.

Address: Monastero Santa Rosa, Via Roma, 2, 84010 Conca dei Marini SA, Italy

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Borgo Egnazia

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: FAMILY TIME

Set amid olive groves, this striking limestone compound is the ideal place for a multi-generational reunion. Families are welcomed at the Borgo village, a huddle of elegant two-storey townhouses far enough away from the main hotel that a kid’s tantrum is not going to upset anyone. A comprehensive kids’ club offering also means you can escape to the cool, cavernous Vair spa that’s buried deep in the belly of the hotel.

The spa programme is ambitious; they want to change negative mindsets, maximism happiness and get you fitter. The new, ‘Muvt’ programme (available for three or six days) comes from the Puglian phrase ‘move yourself’ and helps guests reconnect with nature with a selection of mindful sessions, happiness workshops that include singing, dancing classes, and outdoor training.

Address: Borgo Egnazia, Strada Comunale Egnazia, 72010, 72015 Savelletri, Italy

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The Capri Palace Medical Spa at the Capri Palace Hotel

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR: A CONFIDENCE BOOST

Follow in the footsteps of lithe-limbed A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Hurley and Julia Roberts who are all fans of the spa’s famous Leg School. Medical director Professor Canonaco specialises in diets and treating vascular diseases, and offers therapies to tackle issues from thick thighs to puffy cankles.

Expect daily trots through waist-deep hot and cold Kniepp pools to improve circulation, and guided hikes across Capri’s cliffs to get the heart pumping. Beyond the medicated mud wraps and leg yoga there is a broader offering including an excellent nutrition programme curated by the Michelin-starred chef that reduces calories without hunger pains. When it’s time to put your feet up, nothing beats a hydrating Valmont facial.

Address: The Capri Palace Medical Spa at the Capri Palace Hotel, Via Capodimonte, 14, 80071 Isola di Capri, NA, Italy

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Verdura Resort

BEST SPA IN ITALY FOR IMPROVING FITNESS

The Forte family’s sun-soaked Sicilian estate has a sporty laidback vibe. Come spring 2022, Irene Forte, founder of the eponymous skincare line that uses Verdura’s homegrown ingredients (almonds, oranges and aloe) in its formulas, will have her name above the door of the spa. Guests can dip into an impressive menu of treatments that sway between hands-on healing and the latest technical wizardry.

Don’t miss the Etna Age Defying Facial, a workout with knuckling massage and lymphatic drainage using stones from the volcano to lift and brighten the face. For those looking to dig deep, structured wellness programmes offer the services of a personal trainer, nutritionist and Osteopath. There is also an action-packed fitness offering; tennis, hiking and kite surfing are juxtaposed with soaks in Thalasso pools that help with everything from skin conditions to joint pain. Indeed, even NASA astronauts are said to reap the benefits of thalassotherapy to regain their balance after time in space.

Address: Verdura Resort, 92019 Sciacca, Sicilly, Italy

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