Inside Bagni di Lucca thermal facility there are two natural steam caves with a temperature of about 43° C, proving effective thermal treatments.
The Grotta Paolina is the smallest and the most impressive cave, and takes its name from the sister of Napoleon. This cave is composed by two cavities, each fed by its own thermal source with a different temperature that varies according to body height: warmer at torso level, cooler at the extremities.
The waters of the caves of Bagni di Lucca are rich in sulphur, bicarbonate and calcium. Our thermal treatments help in rheumatic diseases and are useful against stress. The local folklore says that under the Warm Baths (Bagni Caldi) and the near village of Ponte a Serraglio there is a volcano, responsible of the high temperature of the waters.
Besides being an important location for thermal treatments, the caves have also a stress-relieving effect. Its natural steams perform a strong and natural myorelaxant and decontracturing action. Furthermore, the heavy sweating induced in the cave purifies the skin, smoothing it and making it velvety and shiny. For this reason, the thermal caves have also a basic aesthetic treatment function.
It seems that the thermal caves of Bagni di Lucca were already known and used in Roman times. At a later time, they have represented an attractive and distinguished element of the Jean Varraud facility, visited through centuries by many illustrious figures who went there to regenerate themselves and to receive treatments.
In the XI° Century the caves were restored by Matilda of Canossa, while in the XVI° Century they were further renewed. In the early 20's their walls were covered with majolica tiles that gave them the actual design.
The restoration has not affected the historical value of the caves and only the materials and the lighting have been renewed, without altering the interpretation of the space and maintaining some characteristics elements, such as the marble benches, that have not been damaged over time.
The walls and the vaulted ceiling have been covered using the traditional local materials such as Carrara, Botticino and Bardiglio marbles that can be found in other parts of the building.
The lighting is a consciously modern element: the spotlights on the floor enhanced the sinuous wall shapes that lead the guest to the thermal springs. In the first part of the cave, the light is otherwise diffused from the inside of cast iron pots, supported by the pedestals of marble columns.