Have you ever seen photos of fabulous wild places with waterfalls, streams and ponds that make you want to be there to dive right away? In this case you should know that even in Italy – maybe not far from your home – there are many natural pools where, between a swim and the other you can enjoy an absolute tranquility, surrounded by nature.
In the book “Wild Swimming Italy”, Michele Tameni has collected together and told all these places, including natural spas, waterfalls and beaches of the great lakes. Here is a selection of 10 natural pools, which will leave you speechless. Some are certainly better known and more frequented, others are almost deserted, but certainly no less spectacular.
1. Natural pools in Bidente di Pietrapazza, Emilia-Romagna
From the village of Santa Sofia, you can already see the beauty of the National Park of the Casentino Forests, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We walk through the valley of the Bidente stream, a natural jewel, destination for kayaking enthusiasts and we reach this fantastic place in the valley of Pietrapazza. Over the years the river has dug along this valley leaving only the bare rock and where the river was forced to make jumps have created waterfalls each with its own pool in the bottom. Here you’ll find small beaches where you can sunbathe, swimming lakes and some places from which you can dive.
Directions: The bathing lakes are in Poggio alla lastra, in the municipality of Bagno di Romagna.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: just 10 km from the valley of the Old Town huest house, in the center of Santa Sofia, a short walk from the nature park. In what was once the town hall of the old town have been recovered two charming apartments with kitchen.
2. Bullicame Spa, Lazio
This complex of natural pools is part of the large hydrothermal basin of Viterbo. It is a thermal spring documented since the Middle Ages, as a point of passage of the Via Francigena and mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy. Bullicame is in fact a natural spring of boiling water. The water comes out at a temperature of 58 ° C and through a series of small channels arrives some larger basins dug into the rock, cooling slightly.
It is a public place, but without services, so we recommend arriving equipped against the sun, given the low natural coverage in the area.
How to get there: we are on the outskirts of Viterbo, in Bagni di Viterbo.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: just out of the center of Viterbo, an eco-sustainable Country House, where every detail is designed with respect for the environment. From the untreated wooden floor to the ecological soaps and linens. An excellent breakfast with local organic and homemade products will give you the right boost to discover these hot springs.
3. Torrente Fer, Valle d’Aosta
Although a nice walk is necessary to reach it, the Fer stream is the destination of bathers who come from both Piedmont and Lombardy. It is one of the most aggressive and wild places in the Aosta Valley. The stream that feeds from the wide valley above, has an important basin of water and for most of its path is not bathing except with the appropriate equipment for canyoning. However, in some places the waterfalls have formed larger and quieter basins that amaze for the clarity of the water and the nuances of the ferrous rocks that offer some peaks from which you can dive.
How to get there: the park is located in the municipality of Donnas.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: 15 minutes from Donnas, in Piedmont, the B & B Verde Musica, a pleasant stop at a low price, in this structure very attentive to the territory. In the morning you will find a hearty breakfast of organic and local products. The owners, very passionate about the area will also give you directions for other excursions in the Canavese or along the Via Francigena.
4. Pozze Smeraldine, Friulian Dolomites
In the natural park of the Friulian Dolomites, you will find this pleasant place with emerald waters. We are in one of the wildest places in the Dolomites, the karst rocks that flank the entire valley have been dug by the Meduna, forming a series of basins that allow those who come here to take a bath in this pristine natural environment. The higher you go up, the clearer the water becomes and changes shades from emerald to crystal clear blue.
How to get there: you can reach it with a short walk from the village of Tramonti di Sopra, in the province of Pordenone.
5. Jamaica Beach, Lombardy
Until now, it was the mountain streams that dug into the rock, but here we are in a slightly different scenario. We are in fact on the shores of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, at the tip of the peninsula of Sirmione, in the province of Brescia. Here, over the millennia, the glaciers that gave rise to Lake Garda have dug a series of puddles into the rock, which now emerges from the smooth and smooth water. What makes the beach special is not only the scenery of Lake Garda, but there are also the Caves of Catullus, the remains of a beautiful Roman villa that just at this point overlooking the lake.
How to get there: this beach is reachable by boat or on foot from Sirmione.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: 15 km from Sirmione, easily accessible by public transport, Bio Farm Vojon, immersed in the morainic amphitheater of Lake Garda. A comfortable farmhouse, which also offers guests a solarium, a gym and a breakfast of homemade products.
6. Rio Pitrisconi, Sardinia
Sardinia, thanks to its extravagant geology certainly has a privileged position when it comes to natural pearls. Between caves dug by the sea, volcanic coastlines and coral reefs Sardinia is known mainly for its beaches. Among the hills to the north-east, however, there is another wonder, above San Teodoro, in a narrow and narrow valley flows the Rio Pitrisconi. The presence of granite rocks has prevented the stream from leveling this valley forming a canyon, but in some places where there are the spectacular waterfalls of Rio Pitrisconi, have formed very impressive natural pools. This place is particularly surprising for the jumps of several meters that there are between the pools, which make it a favorite destination for lovers of canyoning.
How to get there: you can reach it from the Monte Nieddu car park, or with a nice walk starting from San Teodoro.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: 20 minutes from San Teodoro, the Essenza Oasi Sensoriale, a magnificent B & B, made from some “pinnetu”, the typical homes of the shepherds of Sardinia. Each room is characterized by an endemic scent of Sardinia. A stone’s throw from the famous beach of Posada, and surrounded by the Natural Park of Tepilora.
7. La Cascata Capelli di Venere, Campania
In the Cilento National Park there is a place that seems to have come out of a fairytale book. It is the oasis Cascate Capelli di Venere, where streams descend between mosses and ferns before throwing in the Rio Bussentino, creating delicate waterfalls. It is an equipped area, with a path that runs along the stream through a wooden walkway and an ancient Norman bridge. Be careful, however, this is the only stream on the list that is not suitable for swimming.
Directions: The waterfall is located in the municipality of Casaletto Spartano (Salerno).
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: 10k km from the oasis the rural hospitality Casale Il Sughero, An old restored farmhouse, which offers a breakfast of local products and homemade, in the National Park of Cilento.
8. Piscine dell’Auro, Marche
This enchanted place is fully included in the list as a place to bathe. Yes, there are those who prefer the Auro river to the Rimini Riviera in summer! The pools extend for a long stretch of river and are accessible to everyone. A succession of waterfalls and pools and stone slabs where you can relax and sunbathe. Once in Parchiule, leave your bike or car and set out to discover this magnificent place.
Directions: The swimming pools are located along the road from Borgo Pace (PU) to the hamlet of Parchiule.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: 15 km from Parchiule, the Casale di Montondo, a refuge in the Sasso di Simone Park with a splendid view of the valley. From Sestino you can reach it only on foot or with the 4×4 provided by the structure. There are a small apartment and a yurt tent, both very simple, because outside there is a whole world to discover!
9. Riva del Garda, Trentino Alto-Adige
We are back in Lake Garda, but this time on a slightly more sandy beach. It is one of the many beaches of Riva del Garda, on the northern shore of the lake. The characteristic of Riva is that from here there is a unique scenery because there are on the sides of the slopes of the mountains that descend steeply into the water and the lake that stretches as far as the eye can see. The beach in the photo is the Baia Azzurra in the nearby village of Torbole, perhaps the most picturesque, but that can only be reached on foot or by bike. There are other rocky beaches such as the free beach or sandy beaches such as Punta Sabbioni, which are more frequented, but also have all the facilities such as showers and bars. It is also worth a visit to the historic center of the country with the medieval village.
How to get there: you can easily reach Riva del Garda from the motorway by taking the Rovereto exit.
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: Eco Hotel Bonapace, in the nearby Torbole, a comfortable 3-star hotel and very attentive to the environment. Witness to the commitment to respect the territory of Lake Garda, which risks being irreparably damaged by mass tourism.
10. Candalla, Tuscany
This little gem is located at the foot of the Apuan Alps. A little hidden in the narrow valley, the Lombricese stream makes its way down to Camaiore, and then after a few kilometers reaches the sea. Between the waterfalls of Candalla and the ruins of the ancient mills, there are numerous natural pools with some points for diving. It is the perfect destination for very hot days because the water here is particularly cool. On the structure of the old mill there is now the Osteria Candalla, a place renowned throughout the area.
Directions: Candalla is located in the municipality of Camaiore (LU).
Where to sleep green in the surroundings: a few kilometers from Candalla, Borgo 4 Case, a small resort consisting of 4 restored cottages. An oasis of peace with a beautiful outdoor park with swimming pool and olive trees. It can be the starting point for beautiful excursions in the Park of the Apuan Alps and is 20 minutes from the beach.