A photo says a thousand words. In fact, all you need to do is look at the Cascate del Mulino and you’re immediately itching with desire to be there… or at least I am.

Hidden in a corner of Southern Tuscany that’s off most tourists’ radars, these waterfalls are located just outside the town of Saturnia in the Maremma. For me, the Maremma perfectly encapsulates the unpretentious beauty and positively enviable landscape of the Tuscan countryside, where fields of chestnuts and oaks stretch to the sea and quaint hilltop towns infuse centuries old traditions and cultures into their laid-back lifestyle.

The Cascate del Mulino has become one the of the symbols of this region. These waterfalls flows onto the traventine rock below, which over the centuries have been carved into tiny pools that are filled by smaller waterfalls flowing from one pool to another and out into the lush vegetation that surrounds them.

Locals in this area think the waterfalls are their best kept secret. Immersed in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, they’re a hidden oasis amongst an already effortlessly picturesque scenery of lush fields and rustic farmhouses. But the locals don’t just come to the Cascate del Mulino to admire the view, they also escape the stresses of modern life and soak in the blissfully warm water, which flow into the waterfalls from hot springs underground.

To be honest, warm doesn’t really describe this water. At 37.5°C all year round, these waters are same ones that flow into the world-renowned health spa down the round, except here you get to enjoy them for free and while taking in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside at the same time!

And then there’s the health benefits. The water that flows into the Cascate del Mulino contains sulfur and Thermal Plankton, two proprieties which have been said to help cure skin, digestive and circulatory ailments since the time of the Romans.

It’s difficult to find an experience in the Maremma or even in Tuscany that tops a trip to these waterfalls. It’s not just the view or the incredible feeling of taking the most luxurious bath in the most luxurious setting, but it’s also the feeling of indulging in something that is strictly a local obsession, free from tourist traps or gimmicks.

Like all natural splendours, the Cascate del Mulino can be enjoyed for free every day and night and if you’re brave I’d suggest taking a dip at night, especially if you’re visiting in winter. It’s painful when you first strip down to your bathing suit, but once you hop into the water with clouds of steam rising into the cold night sky, it’s pure and utter bliss, trust me.