One of the loveliest small villages around San Quirico d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni has been known for its waters since the Etruscans and later the Romans. From 1100 until the end of the 13th century Bagno Vignoni was governed by the Tignosi family. Afterwards it passed under the jurisdiction of the Salimbenis along with all the small castles in the area. The Salimbeni family continued to rule over the area until 1417, when it passed into the hands of the city of Siena.
The village of Bagno Vignoni has survived miraculously unaltered through the centuries. The pool with the fabled thermal waters is still in the main square of the village, closed in on three of its four sides by a 1.5 metre high perimeter wall. Some of the buildings that look onto the square, such as the loggia where St Catherine of Siena is known to have come to take the waters, were designed by the architect Bernardo Rossellino. Another regular at the baths was the Piccolomini pope Pius II, who built an elegant villa in the square towards the middle of the 15th century. The villa survives today and has been converted into an elegant hotel.
Located on an area of flat ground that lies between Colle Vignoni and a meander of the river Orcia, the waters that feed the 16th century pool in Bagno Vignoni emerge from the soil at a temperature of over 50°C, which makes them particularly well suited for immersions, mud baths and inhalations, as well as for curing ailments such as breathing infections, gynaecological infections and rheumatic conditions.
In the past these waters also powered a series of mills further downriver. Known as the Parco dei Mulini, these mills have been carefully restored by the town of San Quirico d’Orcia and are today open to the public.