Saturnia (Italian: [saˈturnja]) is a spa town in Tuscany in north-central Italy that has been inhabited since ancient times. It is a frazione of the comune of Manciano, in the province of Grosseto. Famous for the homonym spa, its population is of 280.
It lies about 14 km (8.7 mi) from Manciano, 56 km (35 mi) from Grosseto, 37 km (23 mi) northeast of Orbetello and the coast. Near the village, 800 L/s of sulphurous water at 37 °C gushes over a waterfall and down into a cascade of natural pools formed by the deposition of calcareous rock from evaporation of the water.
Fresco attributed to Benvenuto di Giovanni at the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, Saturnia
Saturnia takes its name from the Roman god Saturn (or Saturnus). Legend has it that he grew tired of the constant wars of humans, and sent a thunderbolt to earth that created a magic spring of warm sulphurous water which would pacify mankind.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus lists Saturnia as one of the towns first occupied by the Pelasgi and then by the Etruscan civilization. A Roman colony arrived in 183 BC, but little is known about it other than the fact that it was a prefecture. There are still remains of the city walls, in the polygonal style, which contain Roman gateways. Roman remains have also been discovered within the town, and remains of tombs outside. These tombs were originally covered by tumuli, which have now disappeared, so that George Dennis, author of Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, mistook them for megalithic remains.
In 1300, Saturnia became the hideout of outlaws and was razed to the ground by the Sienese. Forgotten for several centuries, Saturnia was rediscovered in the late 19th century when the land around the spring was drained and a spa built. Thousands of visitors come to bathe in the waters to this day.
- Church of Santa Maria Maddalena
The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena is the main church in Saturnia. The earliest historical records related to the church date back to 1188, but the building is due to a restoration of 1933. The church holds the famous Madonna and Child frescoe attributed to Benvenuto di Giovanni at the end of the 15th century.
- Terme di Saturnia
- Rocca Aldobrandesca
- Saturnia Walls (Mura di Saturnia)
- Roman Gate (Porta Romana)
- Archaeological museum