San Giovanni Spa Island of Elba


Elba San Giovanni Spa


The spa of San Giovanni, facing the gulf of Portoferraio, is situated near a 5-hectar marshy area from which is extracted a type of mud of great therapeutic properites. This modern structure is the only of its kind and size that practices thalassotherapy in the western Mediterranean area.


The Romans who ruled the Island of Elba after the Ligurians and the Etruscans were the first to discover the beneficial and healthy effects of hydrotherapy.
In fact, in ancient times, a sign of Romanization was the presence of public baths in which at different hours men and women could benefit from a bath and sauna. Portoferraio, or Fabricia as the Romans called it, became great especially during Augustus’s time when the powerful families chose to build their villas here. The imperial family and the court came here to rest and here also were confined the persons that the Emperor did not like.

The remains of huge villas, among which still lingers the legend of Princess Alba’s love story, are today visible on the promontory of the Grotte and at the Linguella, the far point of the Medicean port with its octagonal tower del Martello, the ancient prisons.
The Spa of San Giovanni, one of the most important thalassotherapy centers of the western Mediterranean area, is situated at about 1 kilometer from the gulf in front of the blue sea, home of herons and seagulls, and has a 5 hectar thermal basin surrounded by a beautiful park of eucalyptuses.

EIt is one of the few humid areas left on the island and as soon as you enter the grounds you will be captured by the intense scent of the trees.
The Spa park is full of sun, sand and dry grass and extends all the way to the sea: a lagoon in which silence reigns and there is a strong scent of sea, algae and resins. The beautiful view of the fortifications of Falcone, Stella and Linguella, around Cosmopoli, the town built by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1548, all add to the already great fascination of this natural oasis.

The fine sea mud of San Giovanni – where you can undergo sea water baths (thalassotherapy), sometimes associated with mud baths (mud bath therapy) – has a very good scientific classification and is therefore considered the third for quality in Italy, after that of Cervia and Margherita di Savoia.

The thermal park is particularly enchanting. Here you can enjoy the benefits of a therapeutic treatment together with hours of pleasant and confortable relaxation.
A corner of uncontaminated nature in which sounds, colors, perfumes and the air contribute to making it the perfect place to restore the mind, the spirit and the body.

Even during the hottest hours,with a little patience, it is possible to admire from the surface of the water the gliding of little egrets and cormorants and the skipping of herons that come down to the lagoon full of plancton in search of food.
The scenery is extraordinary.

To the east, the fat belly of Mount Grosso. To the left, the seafront of Punta della Rena, a solitary paradise for seagulls and birds of passage, in the shade of low and knotty tamarisks. At the center, the sea.


Thalassotherapy and mud baths constitute a miracle combination for the treatment of arthrosis and rheumatisms.

The high therapeutic value of this association, the only of its kind in Europe, is due to the quality of the extracted sea mud, rich in organic iodine and zinc, that were formed after centuries of saltpan activity.

The mud is similar to the “liman” from the Black Sea, but with a higher percentage of iron; and for this reason before employing it in the spa it was used to cure aching and swelling limbs of race horses.

Through this observation, in 1957, researchers decided to investigate this particular type of peloide mud, enriched in its action against arthritis, acne and psoriasis with organic zinc and iodine found in some plants and seaweeds – marine Zoostera and Caulerpa – that feed on the mud.

The spa, directed by Dr. Ernesto Somigli, is divided in a thermal unit and a physiotherapy unit. Also available specialistic advice in cardiology, orthopedics, otoralyngology, diet and pain therapy.

Daily medical assistance is guaranteed by the medical director, a specialist in medical hydrology and respiratory diseases and a specialist in otoralyngology and medical hydrology. The Physiotherapy Unit is directed by a specialist in Physical Therapy who is assisted by a physiotherapist. The spa has a large parking area and has agreements with various hotels.

For more information:

Tel. +39 0565 914680 fax +39 0565 918791
Operating with the National Health Service.