Have you ever seen pictures of fabulous but wild places with waterfalls, streams, natural pools and lakes, which make you want to get there and immediately start diving? If so, you ought to know that even in Italy, and maybe not far from where you live, there are plenty of natural stanks where you can enjoy the peacefulness of the entourage, surrounded by nature.
In the book “Wild Swimming Italia”, Michele Tameni told his readers about these unique spots, gathering them all together: natural spas, waterfalls and beaches belonging too big lakes. Here you got a selection of 10 natural pools, which are going to leave you speechless. Some are certainly well-known and kind of crowded, some more are almost desert but not less majestic than the others.
1. Natural stanks in Bidente di Pietrapazza, Emilia-Romagna
From the small village of Santa Sofia, the beauty of the National Park of the Casentino forest can be seen, a UNESCO heritage. You can go through the valley of the Bidente torrent, a natural jewel, destination for kayak lovers, and you can finally reach this beautiful place in the Pietrapazza valley. Over the years the river has dug all the way along the valley, leaving bare rocks and creating small waterfalls and each one of them has his own pool. There, you will find beaches where you could sunbathe, bathing ponds and rocks from where you could also dive.
How to get there: These bathing ponds are in Poggio alla Lastra, in the municipality of Bagno di Romagna. Here you have the position in Google Maps.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: only 10 km far from the valley, in “Il Vecchio Comune guest house”, in the city centre of Santa Sofia, not so far from the natural park. Two flats with kitchens were built in the old Town Hall of the municipality.
2. Thermal Springs of Bullicame, Lazio
This complex of natural pools belongs to the big hydrothermal reservoir of Viterbo. It is a thermal spring that has been documented since the Medieval era, as a way of point of the Francigena Way and mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
As a matter of fact, Bullicame means “natural source of boiling water”. The water comes out at a temperature of 58°C and thanks to several small canals it gets to some bigger basins which are carved into the rock, where the water gets a little bit colder.
It is a public place, but with no services at all, so that we do suggest you bring something that may help you to deal with the sun as no natural hedging can be found.
How to get there: we are in the periphery of Viterbo, in Bagni di Viterbo, there you have the position in Google Maps
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: as soon as you get out of the city centre of Viterbo, you will find a sustainable Country House, where every single detail is thought to be respectful of the environment. From the wooden floor to the environmentally friendly soaps and laundries. You can even enjoy the breakfast made of bio and local homemade products.
3. Fer Torrent, Valle d’Aosta.
Although it is necessary to take a long walk to reach it, the Fer Torrent is the destination for bathers coming from Piedmont and Lumbardy. It is one of the wildest places in Valle d’Aosta. The torrent, that receives its water from the huge overhanging valley, has a big basin and for the majority of its way it is not possible to take a bath, you can do it only if you have the right canoeing equipment.
However, some waterfalls have created largest and safest basins that amaze the visitors for the clarity of the waters and the shades that enliven the iron-rich rocks from where you could dive.
How to get there: the park is in the municipality of Donnas, there you have the position in google map.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: 15 minutes far from Donnas, in Piedmont, you will find “B&B Verde Musica”, a pleasant place which is not so expensive. This B&B cares for the environment, you can taste a delicious breakfast prepared with bio and local products, the owners are nature lovers and they will give you the best advice to enjoy your stay and they will also give you instructions for excursions in Cava or along the Via Francigena.
4. Emerald pools, Friulan Dolomites
In the Natural Park of the Friulan Dolomites, you will find this locus amoenus with emerald waters. We are in one of the wildest places on the Dolomites, the karstic rocks that represent the valley had been dug by the Meduna river, creating lots of swimming basins that welcome anyone who wants to take and enjoy a bath in these unspoilt waters. The higher you go, the clearest the water will get, and it also changes its shades from emerald to crystal blue.
How to get there: you can reach the ponds with a short walk from the village of Tramonti di Sopra, in the area of Pordenone. There you got the position in Google Maps.
5. Jamaica Beach, Lombardia
Up to now we have discovered a lot about torrents that dig the rocks, but in this case, we will learn about a different scenario. Thus, we are on the shores of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, near Sirmione, in the province of Brescia. Glaciers formed this lake and dug a number of ponds into the rocks. What makes it special is not only the scenario but also the famous Grotte di Catullo, the rest of a splendid Roman villa that faced the lake.
How to get there: this beach can be reached either on foot from Sirmione or by boat; here you got the position.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: 15 km from Sirmione, you can reach the Bio Agriturismo Vojon by bus, which is located in the Garda morainic amphitheatre. It is a comfortable farmhouse that also provides a solarium, a gym and homemade breakfasts.
6. Pitrisconi river, Sardegna
Sardinia, thanks to its extravagant geology, has a prime location when it comes to natural jewels. Caves dug by the sea, volcanic coastlines and corals; these are the main characters of this beautiful place. In the North-East part of the island, you will find a valley, near San Teodoro, where the Pitrisconi river runs. The presence of granite rocks stopped the river from levelling out this valley, but in some places, you will find amazing waterfalls and natural bathing. This is the perfect place if you like diving from high points and canoeing.
How to get there: you can reach this place from Monte Nieddu parking lot, or even on foot from San Teodoro.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: Essenza Oasi Sensoriale, only 20 minutes from San Teodoro, it is a wonderful B&B that used to be a “pinnetu”, a typical Sardinian shepherd’s house. Every single room is characterised by the endemic smell of Sardinia. The farmhouse is not far from Posada beach and it is also in the very heart of the Natural Park f Tepilora.
7. Venus Hair Waterfall, Campania
Venus Hair Waterfalls, Casaletto Spartano, picture from Pivari.com, via Wikimedia
In the Cilento National Park you will find a place that will make you believe that you are in a fairy tale setting. We are talking about the waterfall of Venus Hair, where the streams lead down between mosses and ferns just before disgorging into the Bussettino river, forming these beautiful waterfalls. It is an area equipped with services, with a path along the torrent, a wooden footbridge and an ancient Norman bridge. Be careful though! This is the only torrent of our list where you will not be able to swim into.
How to get there: the waterfall is in the municipality if Casaletto Spartano (Salerno), there you have the link from Maps.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly way”: Casale Il Sughero, only 10 km from the oasis. It is a restored farmhouse that offers you a high-quality local breakfast.
8. Natural pools of the Euro, Marche
This enchanted place deserves a mention as a place where you can go for a swim. A lot of people prefer going to Euro pools rather than going to the Rimini Riviera! The ponds extend along the river and they are accessible to all. You will find a series of small waterfalls, pools and large stones where you can sunbathe. Once in Perchiule you can leave your bike, or your car and you will be ready to discover this amazing place.
How to get there: these pools are along the way that links Borgo Pace (PU) to Parchiule. Here is the link from Google Maps.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: Casale di Montondo, a shelter in Sasso di Simone Park with a splendid view all over the valley. From Sestino you can reach this shelter only on foot or with a 4×4. There you will find a nice apartment and a yurta tent, they both are really simple and minimal but yet so great!
9. Riva del Garda, Trentino Alto-Adige
Lake Garda, picture by Daniel Frank on Unsplash
Here we are again, Lake Garda. However, this time we are on a sandy beach. You will be amazed by the scenario that represents this area, it is characterised by mountains that fall to the water and a huge lake that will not let you spot the horizon. The beach in the picture is called Baia Azzurra, near Torbole, maybe it is the most fascinating, but you can only reach this beach by bike or walking. There are other rocky beaches or sandy beaches like Punta Sabbioni, it is one of the most crowded places but still with impeccable services. The city centre and the Medieval village definitely worth a visit.
How to get there: you can reach this place driving the highway just up to Rovereto. There you have the link from Google Maps.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: Eco Hotel Bonapace, near Torbole, a three stars hotel that cares for the environment. Unfortunately, Lake Garda is in danger because of the overtourism in this area.
10. Cadalla. Toscana
Candalla Waterfall, Toscana, picture by Teresa1997, via wikimedia
This jewel is in the foothills of the Apuan Alpes. The Lombricese torrent, which appears to be kind of hidden in the narrow valley, leads down to Camaiore and just a few kilometres later it reaches the sea. Between the Candalla waterfalls and the rests of ancient windmills, you will detect lots of natural pools with perfect places for diving. Here, the water is extremely cold, so it turns out to be the perfect destination for a hot day. A famous monument that you will find in this area is represented by a tavern called Osteria Candalla, built inside a windmill.
How to get there: Candalla is in the municipality of Camaiore (LU), there you got the link from Maps.
Where you can go and sleep in a “greenly” way: Borgo 4 case, only a few kilometres from Candalla. It is a small resort with four restored buildings. It is an oasis for relaxing and enjoying the pool and the secular olive trees. This could be the starting point for amazing excursions into the Apuan Alpes National Park.