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The Magical Healing Waters of Bivongi

One of the things I most love about living in Calabria, Italy, is discovering hidden gems. Spots that tourists would be hard-pressed to find without the help of a local. Fortunately for me, I have fantastic friends who are passionate about supporting these secret (and sometimes sacred) spots.



This week, I experienced i Bagni di Guida, located in Bivongi, a tiny town known for its gorgeous waterfalls.


I Bagni uses the cleansing waters of an offshoot of the nearby river to provide healing, both physically and spiritually. The waters are sulfuric, though they don't reek of eggs the way you'd expect.


This spot was once home to one of the first hydroelectric plants in Calabria (which is open a few times a year as a museum). Now the old plant buildings serve as the backdrop to a gorgeous creek and the baths where we cleansed ourselves and acted like kids!


A Rustic But Perfect Spa Experience

At the baths, the first step is to take a warmish bath in the tubs. The water is heated by a fire in the room next to the tub rooms. Here you soak for no more than 20 minutes to release the toxins (emotional ones too) into the water.



After that, you soak in a chilly communal tub of the sulfuric water. We shrieked like little girls when our skin hit the icy waters, but given that it was 107 degrees outside, it was a welcome respite.


After that, we splashed in the creek and sunned ourselves on rocks like lizards. Despite it being a long day, we felt fantastic. Refreshed. Rejuvenated.



A Fortifying Lunch at Bivongi's La Vecchia Miniera

Just a few minutes away from the baths is a rustic restaurant called La Vecchia Miniera, named after the mines that used to be in the area. It's known for its pasta with capra (goat meat), but if you're not a fan (I'm not), the other dishes are pretty great, too.





Could You Use a Reset? Head to the Baths

Let me be clear: i Bagni di Guida isn't a luxury spa like Capo Vaticano. There are no luxurious robes to wrap up in. No organic mint tea. You will wear silly water shoes to keep from slipping in the creek. An old dog will lick you when you get out of the water. You'll have trouble finding the place, since there are no signs.


But can you go there?


It depends.


The gentleman who keeps the baths, Signor Nobile, doesn't let just anyone in. He wants people who are spiritually tuned in, who understand the value of the water, not those looking for another authentic notch in their Instagram belt.


Lucky for me, I guess I passed the test!

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