Like many of the natural wonders of the world, the Cascate del Mulino have their own ancient story to tell.
We’re not the first generation to enjoy these hot springs and we certainly won’t be the last. These waterfalls have ancient roots that can be traced back to the Etruscans, a cultured and passionate civilisation that lived in this region during the Bronze Age. The Etruscans prized the warm water that flowed from these springs, building a “holy bath” in a nearby temple as way of worshipping the gods they believed had sent them this gift.
Jealous of what the Etruscans possessed, the Romans were quick to seize the area and the hot springs as their own, building the first public bath in history, Aurinia, in the centre of Saturnia, a bath that allow slightly worse for wear can still be seen today.
Saturnia and the Cascatelle del Mulino are still inextricably linked to the histories and traditions left behind by the legendary Etruscans and Romans. If you ask any local today, they will tell you that Saturnia is actually the mythical Saturnia tellus, refuge of the god Saturn after he lost the throne of the gods. And while this may seem fantastical now, it was whole heatedly believed in the Middle Ages.
Undergoing a puritan revolution, the Maremmani of the time were ordered to shun the hot springs their ancestors had so enjoyed. Many believed they were not Saturn’s refuge but his curse on the mankind he was at war with and were created when Saturn threw down a burning lightening bolt that tore open the earth exposing hot waters. Medieval Maremmani believed it was the gates to Hell and encouraged temptation and sin.
Centuries later the pull of the hot springs was too much to resist and the Maremmans eventually returned these waters. Today they remain not only chink in the chain that makes up the region’s incredibly rich history, culture and tradition, but are also a much-loved retreat for the locals and an ideal sanctuary to reflect on the enviable beauty of the countryside they live in.