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The highest spa in Italy

Terme di Valdieri

The Albergo Royal at Terme di Valdieri (R. Pockaj)

In the heart of the Park, from beneath the rocks of Monte Matto flow waters whose beneficial properties have been known for centuries. They were studied in the sixteenth century, and in this period the first structures for therapeutic use of the waters were built. The heyday for the spa in Valle Gesso began in the nineteenth century when its main "sponsors" were the sovereigns of the house of Savoy, who came to the area to hunting. It was Vittorio Emanuele II who, in 1855, laid the foundation stone for the grandiose Royal Hotel. He also had built four chalets close by, in Swiss Alpine style, of these only two remain. The "little hunting lodge" and "Bela Rosin's house" built for Rosa Vercellana, the commoner with whom Vittorio Emanuele II had two children.

The architecture of the thermal baths and the chalets, along with that of the hunting lodges, evoke a concept of mountains far removed from that of the local population. They are the expression of a life-style, a typically bourgeois and urban vision of the alpine territory, steeped in Late Romantic culture. Notwithstanding, these are buildings of quality, showing an uncommon effort to interpret the alpine environment, in stark contrast with most of the substandard residential buildings put up in the mountains from the 1960s onwards. With kings and queens as patrons, the spa at Terme di Valdieri soon became a fashionable place, with up to 600 guests staying: this was the beginning of spa tourism in Valle Gesso.

Today the spa, thanks to the exclusive combination of therapies which are both natural and efficacious, is the best place to absolve the "pleasurable duty" of looking after oneself.

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