Salsomaggiore Terme - Italy


The Roman name of “Salso Maiore” shows that saline water has been the foundation of the wealth of this important town in the northern Italian province of Parma, since ancient times. At their source the waters have five times the density of salt than the Mediterranean Sea, so it’s no surprise, that the tribe of Galli Celelati, and later the Roman s settled in the hills around the town, to extract the precious salts. However it wasn’t until 1839 that Doctor Lorenzo Berzieri, a local general practitioner, discovered the curative properties of the waters here and in nearby Tabiano. His name graces the “Liberty”-style Thermal Centre, the “Terme Berzieri” built in 1923 by the architect Ugo Giusti, richly decorated inside and out by the ceramist Galileo Chini, with multiple symbols from oriental and occidental philosophies.

The waters themselves are hypertonic, and contain sodium chloride, bromine and iodine salts, at a density of 150g of salt per litre of water, which amplifies the therapeutic benefits of the spa waters. At the thermal centre, which welcomes all the family, the water are used to treat chronic inflammations of the osteo-articular, gynaecological, vascular and respiratory systems, as well as gum diseases and cellulite problems (the application of mud for certain treatments also increases the pain-relief and anti-inflammatory qualities of the water). The water has a rusty colour, which is due to ferrous minerals that oxidize on contact with the air.

Visitors to modern-day Salsomaggiore will find plentiful parks, gardens, swimming pools, a golf course, and many cultural and artistic events, as well as a thriving thermal spa centre, boasting a line beauty products for the face, body and skin, made from the spa water. Salsomaggiore Terme is also very close to another certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route from Canterbury in the UK to Rome, with plenty of opportunities to benefit the health by walking in the stunning countryside surrounding the town.

Historical background

The placename “Salso Maiore” already refers to the main wealth source of the town, since ancient times: saline water.
The tribe of Galli Celelati probably settled on these hills to extract this precious mineral. Later, the area was occupied by roman colons that left several archeological evidences, among which the famous Tabula Patronatus by Virus Valens stands out.

The salt-bromo-iodine spa water of Salsomaggiore has its origin millions of years ago. For many centuries it was used by the Celts and the Romans to extract the precious salt. It was only in 1839, when, thanks to the intuitions of a general practitioner, doctor Lorenzo Berzieri, the curative properties of these rare waters were discovered. At its origin, the water registers a density of mineral salt which is five times higher than the one of the Mediterranean Sea. A licence for the use of the mineral water, given by the Duchess Maria Luisa in the year 1847, signed the beginning of the history of the health resort.

Water sources

Spa water composition
The spa water of Salsomaggiore ( is indicated to prevent and to treat many problems of chronic inflammations involving the osteo-articular, gynaecological, vascular and respiratory functions as well as gingival diseases and cellulites problems.
The cold (16°C), hyper tonic salt-bromine-iodine spa water is extracted from 800 metres to 1200 metres deep wells, at a density of 16° Baumé (150 grams salt per litre water). The high percentage of sodium chloride, iodine and bromine, besides many other mineral salts, amplify the therapeutic benefits of the spa water. The typical rusty colour is due to the presence of ferrous minerals that oxidize in contact with the air.

Cultural heritage

The town of Salsomaggiore Terme, only 32km far from Parma, is characterised by its incomparable “Liberty” art-nouveau-style, of which the Terme Berzieri represents a unique and spectacular example. The thermal palace, built in 1923 from the architect Ugo Giusti and decorated by the ceramist Galileo Chini, contains multiplicities of symbolisms attained from oriental and occidental philosophies, motives with references to Assyrian-Babylonian and Byzantine architectures, revised after the style of Klimt and the Viennese Secession.

Spa and treatments

Spa treatments
The spa bath with salt-bromo-iodine spa water is one of the most important spa treatments. It is also used for beauty and wellness treatments and by anti cellulites treatments. Due to the high mineral and iodine content the bath is suitable also for children.
By rheumatic and gynaecological problems the spa bath is often associated with mud applications to increase the analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Inhalation treatments are indicated by disorders of the primary airways and bronchial pathologies, selected between inhalations, aerosol, nasal douches or irrigations. Specific treatments by catarrhal otitis and rhinological deafness, like insufflations and crenotherapeutic Politzer using sulphuric gas


Spa beauty products
The “dermatological spa cosmetic lines” from the Terme of Salsomaggiore have their origin in the spa’s proper Institute of Cosmetic and Pharmaceutic Research and they are the result of accurate studies and long tradition.
Already in the 1920’s, the Società Anonima Regie Terme, conscious of the extraordinary properties of the salt-bomo-iodine spa water, has extracted mineral substances and mineral salts to formulate specific pharmacological, hygienic and cosmetic products.
Nowadays, the spa company produces complete lines of dermatological cosmetic products for face, skin and body care as well as for mouth hygiene, involving natural science like phytotherapy an aromatherapy.

Facts and figures

Arrival (2009): 135.998
Tourist attendance (2009): 608.388
Medium stay length (2009): 4,1
Brief report on the tourist flow in the last five years
Other forms of complementary tourism wellness, thermal, sport, golf, bridge e congress.
Arrivals and attendances of spa tourists
Accommodation capacity
(number of hotels: 107 - total number of beds :8.182 and hotel classification (stars) :n.17 hotel 4 stars, n.54 hotel 3 stars, n.25 hotel 2 stars, n.8 hotel 1 star n.3 residence.

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