That enticement drew me to Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort…to be found in their 160-year old ancient cave.

For my Mom’s 60th birthday, we ventured from Amsterdam to Paris, Florence and a few relaxing days at the Tuscany spa. Grotta Giusti is a 19th century villa that belonged to the family of poet Giuseppe Giusti. The lush location in Monsummano Terme, about 40 minutes west of Florence, is also a 58-room Small Luxury Hotel of the World.

Since seeing pictures of the grotta, I was interested in visiting. In 1849, miners discovered hot steam coming from the ground on the property. Upon digging a hole, they discovered this incredible cave. Italian composer Giuseppe Verde, a frequent visitor to the spa, called the grotta the ‘eighth wonder of the world.’

Full of stalactites and stalagmites, the lake, Lago, inside provides 100% humidity. As you enter, steam surrounds you and you move through the cave’s ‘Heaven, Purgatory and Hell’ zones to the maximum 34ºC/93ºF. Once in ‘Hell,’ recline in one of the nice wooden chairs and detox. The only sound is falling water droplets. It’s a wonderful relaxation and a 50-minute treatment is said to eliminate toxins and stress. I felt great after two daily sessions.

There is much more to enjoy as you roam the villa and spa in your robe (one of my favorite parts). Upon arrival, you can meet with a doctor who prescribes treatments. In addition to my swedish and anti-stress massages and facial, I was prescribed ‘nasal aerosol and douching.’ After one treatment, I declared myself fine. That was my ‘hell.’ ;)

There are also 750-square-meters of open air thermal pools to soak in…a large, several mini and a waterfall…permanently fed by spa water at 35°C containing bicarbonate, sulphur, calcium and magnesium, all said to help musculoskeletal system, respiratory system and skin conditions.

The old world Tuscan villa decor makes you feel like a Medici. The wellness centre is a bit more clinical and medicinal, but their focus is on longevity.

Bioaquam Café has great salads water-side for lunch. The Bar is perfect for pre-dinner cocktails with their signature Pink Cinnamon. La Veranda has a nice selection for dinner, again with the feel of dining in a Tuscan villa. And after, piano music back at The Bar with a Lemoncello is a must.

Part of the Fonteverde Collection, last year Grotta Giusti unveiled some upgrades to the property which I haven’t yet seen. Here’s a great photo tour of the property.

When in Florence, Pisa or Lucca and looking for a spa stop, definitely plan a visit for what I’d qualify as heaven.