The thermal waters of the Pope’s as the name for an ancient mineral spring describes well the one time relationship the city of Viterbo had with the Papacy. Arriving to this particular attraction was something unexpected and extraordinary for a typical daytrip excursion in Italy.
Viterbo is an easy daytrip to make from Rome. The transit time on the train is 2 hours in a Northwestern direction. It lies near the borders of Tuscany in quiet countryside of rolling hills. The city itself is packed with medieval history, ornate stonework and well-preserved buildings. One can certainly spend several hours in the churches, squares and small museums and still save some time for a dip in the springs.
Getting to Viterbo:
There are several options, one ay arrive to the area of Tuscia via the highway system coming from Rome, around a 75km drive. The Train is the most economic option with tickets running around 5 Euro each way and dozens of trains going and coming between Rome and Viterbo all day. In train take the one departing from Roma Ostiense Station, bound for Viterbo’s Porta Fiorentina Station. Finally the Terme dei Papi has a shuttle bus service that costs 8 Euros each way. It runs Mondays to Saturdays and can be picked up in Piazza Mancini at 8 a.m. or 2:30pm. Return buses run 1:15pm and 6:00pm. This option is good for a direct transit to the springs, but won’t allow for time and logistics to see the city of Viterbo like the train option does.
Termi dei Papi from Viterbo:
The benefit of coming in train is to see some of the city as well. The thermal waters are around 4km from the central bus stop in town. They can be affordably reached via taxi, and even more so via local bus number 2 which runs hourly from Piazza degli Caduti. A walk is possible but it is lengthy.
Once outside the baths complex it is easy to see the place is full of history. The sign greets the visitor with names of Roman Consuls, various Pope’s, Michaelangelo and other historic figures who bathed in these refreshing waters. As a whole there is much to do here. The Hotel Nicholas the fifth provides a place to stay on site. The main access most day trippers seek is access to the pool baths. The water comes bubbling out into the pool around temps of 115 F. It is quite scalding at this point and it keeps the rest of the pool very warm. The pool itself is more like several Olympic pools put together and it can be very crowded on weekends. The colder the outside temperatures the nicer the pool feels.
Hours of operation are 9am-8pm with a Saturday night extension of 9:30pm-1:00am. The pool is closed on Tuesdays. Cost of entry is 12 Euros on a weekday, 18 Euros for holidays and weekends.
The wellness complex extends into an on site restaurant overlooking the pool, massages, treatments of aromatherapy, relaxation, body, skin, senses and beauty.