Italy: Salsomaggiore Terme I. – From a Small Village to Baths
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When you set out to discover Italy, you will regenerate your artistic soul, be it by art or musical art. You will also enjoy lovers of history or natural beauty and gourmets. But Italy offers many places to relax your body - the spa. So why not disconnect it and go to one of these places where the famous music composer Giuseppe Verdi spent his holidays?
We are heading to the hills, small valleys and mild slopes, fields, meadows and vineyards that surround the spa town of Salsomaggiore Terme. It is located approximately 35 km west of Parma.
Once, the then a small village was known to the Romans and Celts, by leaching sodium chloride, that is, kitchen salt. In a document from the second half of the 9th century it is recalled under the name Salso (Latin salsus, which means salty). From here comes the name - Salsomaggiore.
In the Middle Ages, the town belonged to the powerful Pallavicini family. Salt gained here also other ruling families such as Visconti, Sforza, Farnese and Bourbon. It is not in vain to say that salt is worth more than gold.
The emergence of tourism and baths in the city dates back to 1839. In that year, physician Lorenzo Berzieri made the first healing experiments and discovered the beneficial properties and effects of local mineral-rich minerals. The modest village, where centuries have benefited from salt, slowly changes its face and economic focus and begins to compete with the best European baths.
At the beginning of the 19th century, during the reign of wife of Napoleon - Marie Louis, Duchess of Parma and Piacenza, Salsomaggiore began to be a baths town and became one of the most famous bath towns in Europe. In 1888 they built a railway here, which made the area even more attractive.
With the advent of the 20th century, the spa town began to grow even faster, its new artistic, cultural and lifestyle is "Belle Epoque". The city has been built with magnificent hotels and a residential neighborhood with villas and houses of those who have decided to live or spend time there.
The number of spa guests has been increasing daily as well. Indeed, the hotel industry, as well as agriculture, are the sectors of which the city lives today. The main influx of tourists has undoubtedly been provided for years by strong salt water. These are concentrated in spas with medicinal water and thermal mud, which are very beneficial to the human organism.
Altogether, there are 22 healing water springs rich in iodine and bromine at a temperature of around 16 °C. The help of local experts and especially healing water are especially sought after by patients with metabolic disorders, skin problems, rheumatism and arthritis. The surrounding villages of Salsominore and Tabiano, which also have their own spa, are also popular with tourists.
The Piscina Termale Jodium SNC indoor thermal pool is built for the public. Surrounded by a large park close to Valentini hotels and Grand Hotel Porro. The pool also offers sporting and relaxing spa treatments. There are also gymnasiums, fitness centers, saunas and massage services. You can enjoy it all day long, regardless of the weather.
The main church of the city stands on elevated terrain in close proximity to the thermal pool for the public. Cathedral of Chiesa di San Vitale (1927, Giulio Ulisse Arata). It was built on the site of an old parish church (1205, rebuilt in the 16th century). The facade is made of burnt bricks, a plan of the Greek cross and finished with an octagonal dome. The interior of the temple forms a futuristic austere style with a large circular hall. Under the church is located the crypt of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The temple is dedicated to the patron of the city and to one of the Italian patrons, Vitalis Milan (his holiday commemorates the city on August 28).
The second and oldest church in the city - Chiesa di San Bartolomeo (1568) is located in the nearby Via Giovanni Pascoli. The church dedicated to the Apostle Bartholomew is inconspicuous and austere, with two wooden Baroque sculptures (St. Bartholomew and St. James) inside.
If you think that Salsomaggiore Terme offers its visitors only warm healing springs, you are wrong. Next we will tell you more what you may find and experience here.
Text and photos: Anna Nociarová
Edited by: Infoglobe
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