Baths of Stigliano

The Baths of Stigliano are located in Canale Monterano (via Bagni di Stigliano, 2), 50 km from Rome.


These baths are known as a watering place dating back to the Etruscan age.1
During the Roman times they had been named Thermae Stygyane because of the link with Stige's marshy waters. These waters were consacrated to the healer god Apollo, so that they were also known as Acquae Apollinares Veteres.2 Pliny the Elder in the XXXVII book of Naturalis Historia provides a report of the importance of the stop-over at Stigliano: during the homeward path, Roman soldiers had to purify there.3
In the Middle Ages they became property of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber. In 1476 Pope Sixtus IV gave the thermal baths in concession to the Hospital of Santo Spirito in Saxia in order to make them a healing place.4
In 1671, the Princeps Altieri became the owners of the spa and tried to make it a real place of pilgrimage. The pleasant hospitality, the amazing surroundings and the proximity to the Capital created the opportunity to build a holiday resort upon the Roman ruins and it was made the modern hotel that can be seen nowadays.

The Hotel today


Altieri's leaflet of invitation to the Baths of Stigliano


In the last years of the XVIII century the baths were completely disused due to the sack of Monterno by French troops, but in 1850 they were reopened to the public.5.


As early as 1588, Andrea Bacci in his work De Thermis talks about Balnea Stygiana prope Roman dwelling on the healing power. The analysis of the chemist Luigi De Caesaris highlighted their mineral richness.6 Around 1852 two chemists, Ratti and Luchini, carried out some experiments which proved that the waters were unparalleled.7
The exceptionality of the waters is due to the mixture of colloidal sulphur with iodium and chlorine, which allows a hyperemizing and sedative action of the thiosulphates. Moreover it has an anticatarrhal benefit thanks to the sulphides. These waters are also potable in measured doses, so that they have a diuretic power and cure the intestinal congestion.8
The main wellsprings which provide water to the thermal bath are Bagno Grande (39 °C), Bagnarello or Grotta (60 °C) and Fangaia (55 °C). The Bagnarello's water, despite its mineral's richness, is considered potable because it contains a high quantity of soluble salts.9.

The Venere's bathtub


Venere's bathtub takes its water from the wellspring of Bagno Grande. It has a detoxifying and anti-seborrheic power for the tissues, which confers anti-inflammatory and dermatological properties.10

The Bridge's water


The water shown in the picture derives from a iodic and sulphureous natural spring; it is highly recommended for inflammatory and dermatological pathologies.



The thermal treatments consist above all in baths, mud packs, showers, inhalation and steam.
The physician Francesco Masi treated himself with mudbaths in order to cure a chronic scrofulous reumathism. Among the main therapeutic indications there are kidney stones, rehumatics and gynecological and luetic affections, diasic diseases, such as uricemia and gout, respiratory tract and skin diseases (thanks to sulfur). Under the mud action neuralgies are quickly recovered and it is demonstrated the positive effect on sciatica of a uricemic or rheumatic arthritic nature. The method of mudbath consisted in rubbing the skin to promote the absorption, spreading the mud over the indicated zona and covering it with a cloth.11


  • This site was popular in the ninth century too, but sometimes it was not so salubrious as we are supposed to think. It’s here that Guido Baccelli’s father got ill with malaria! However it went down in history as a lucky place because from that episode derives the invention of the “Baccelli’s mixture” : a compound of quinine sulfate, ferric potassium tartrate, pure arsenious acid and distilled water” in well-defined proportions.12
  • Despite being widely discouraged to eat and drink wine during the immersion, there were hawkers around the baths. This plagued the poor Seneca, who lived near that place, as he said in the Epistula 52.13
  • In the XXXI book of Naturalis Historia, Pliny reflects on the effectiveness of mineral waters, while Celso has a general approach on water's benefits; this one is a great supporter of cold water. Pliny suggests a warm shower before the steambath and a cold one after it. (Perfundere caput calida anti balinearum vaporationem et postea frigida, saluberrimum intelligitur.).14


Maples, centenarian oaks, holm oaks, durmasts, hazels, tamarisks and giant bamboo embellish the environment and facilitate the wide variety of fauna. The exceptional microclimate enriches the typical Lazio flora of endemic species, such as verbena officinalis, papaver rheas, crysanthemum, menta sativa.16

The cane field and the scenery

  • Photos and main text by Flavia Cipriani moc.liamg|89irpicalf#| and Francesca Turchetti moc.liamg|2ittehcrutf#| (December 2017)


  • Luca Borghi, Il medico di Roma. Vita, morte e miracoli di Guido Baccelli (1830-1916), Armando editore, Roma 2015
  • Angelo Capparoni, Le terme di Stigliano, in Atti : 1. Congresso europeo di storia della medicina: Montecatini Terme (Italia), 2-5 giugno 1962, Montecatini 1963
  • Angela Carlino Bandinelli, Le terme di Stigliano, collage di ricerche, Ed. I.P., Roma 2010
  • Giuseppe Derossi, Guida medica ai bagni termo-solforosi di Stigliano, Giovanni Olivieri tipografo della Romana Università, Roma 1863

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