Milan’s thermal baths: relax in a dynamic city
Milan’s thermal baths are in the city centre, in front of famous Porta Romana. The facilities are protected by an old Spanish wall that provides excellent sound insulation against the outside world – traffic noise and rushing around are left at the door. Thermal baths like these come as a surprise in Milan, a city dedicated to fashion and finance. They seem to exist to remind locals of the importance of stopping, taking a break and forgetting the stress of everyday worries and cares.
Italians’ inclination towards pleasure and “dolce far niente”, or pleasant idleness, is sparked by the baths and the way they stimulate the senses. And for visitors, discovering this oasis of calm is a real treat, a wonderful experience that gives you a different view of the city. After epic tourism sessions, there’s nothing better than a trip to the baths. Going for a dip in the outdoor pool, unwinding under a water jet and resting on a sunbed is an utter delight.
The Thermal Baths of Milan, a calm space in an outstanding location
The first thing you notice when you enter the thermal baths is the contrast between its silence and the noise of the city – it’s like stepping into a dream that transports you to another time. History is ever-present thanks to the Spanish wall that protects the facilities.
Many parts of Milan, Lombardy’s capital, still retain traces of Spain’s long rule of the city (1535 to 1706). The wall was built in the middle of the 16th century to reinforce the city’s defences. A particular highlight is the Porta Romana, one of Milan’s most emblematic gates. It has a distinctive monumental arch that was built on the orders of Philip III and it was one of Milan’s most important gates; today a famously smart neighbourhood is named after it. Bocconi University is close by and gives the area a youthful vibe. The Duomo (internal link) is just a 20-minute walk from the thermal baths.
The thermal baths are housed in a small, restored Modernist palace. It was built at the end of the 1800s in the Art Deco style and was used as a warehouse for Milan’s trams. Over the years it also functioned as a dance hall and a theatre. The architecture is notable for its charm and simplicity.
A spa in the heart of Milan
The moment you climb the stairs of this delightful palace, you’ll leave the hubbub of the city behind you. Everything changes when you enter the baths and discover its Turkish baths, water jets, saunas and à la carte massages. The spa’s philosophy is in line with the thermal baths of the Roman Empire: “Like the baths of Caracalla, Diocletian and Trajan, we heat underground water to 37ºC to provide you with a pleasurable experience.”
The complex has three outdoor pools where you can enjoy a restorative swim. They’re sheltered by the wall and have water jets and waterfalls to help your muscles unwind. If there’s one thing this place guarantees, it’s a wonderful rest in its different relaxation areas. The centre has over thirty relaxation options and highlights include the foot baths, and the sensory and musical chromotherapy baths.
In summer, locals often come to the baths to swim in the cold water and sunbathe, while in the winter months, they enjoy the feeling of wellbeing that is produced by the warm water pool, before heading to one of the relaxation rooms to lie on a bed and listen to peaceful music. What could be better for a siesta addict?
The yellow tram of Milan’s thermal baths
The thermal baths also have a unique feature: an old yellow tram that reminds visitors that the building was once Milan’s old tram warehouse. Today, it’s a bio-sauna, so riding the yellow tram means taking a journey towards wellbeing. Climbing aboard is synonymous with enjoying beneficial, detoxifying effects on your skin that make it brighter and more flexible.
Milan’s thermal baths have a wide range of hydro-massage options, so you if you want to experience their toning and rejuvenating effects, you’re free to choose what suits you best. Purifying steam baths and individual or couples’ massages are another extremely tempting option; music, aromas, oils and essences are carefully chosen to meet your personal needs.
This much-loved spot by locals also has a salt room, a slice of the sea in the city centre. The salt walls help to drain and tone your skin while cleaning your respiratory system at the same time. And, last but not least, don’t forget to try the amazing buffet in the baths and its menu of delicious, healthy dishes.
Milan’s thermal baths open from Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 12 a.m. They open an hour earlier on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The centre is open to over-14s.
Spa sessions include free use of towels, robes, slippers and body care products. The ticket price also includes an aperitif from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.