Mountain Spa With Soul
Near the Tuscan border, sitting at the top of the Apennines is the little spa of Porretta Terme, which traces its origins back to the spa-loving Etruscans. This is one of the many spots to which Lorenzo the Magnificent of Florence would come to see if it would help his gout (it didn’t). Poretta attracted the upper crust well into the 20th century, including many opera stars, who believed the waters would soothe their overwrought vocal chords.
Though no longer a major spa, it's still a charming and busy little town. For visitors, they put on an important Festival of Soul Music in July (there's a street named after Otis Redding), and a Film Festival in September.
The mountain back roads to the east conceal unchanged medieval villages such as Castel di Casio and Bargi, where they used to make arquebuses.
Porretta is 54 km south of Bologna on the A1-SS 64, and easily reached from the city by train (line for Pistoia) or ATC bus.
Tourist Office: Via Borgolungo 10, +39 053 4220219