It was the summer of 1867 when Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived at Rapolano Terme in search of rest and tranquility. A pleasant refuge for the hero of the two worlds, to regenerate and recover from the injuries sustained at Aspromonte. The news was spread by Sienese newspaper, Il libero cittadino: “Mr Pietro Buoninsegni – reported the publication – heard a rumour that the General was bringing himself to the baths at Rapolano and hurried to make the villa of Poggio Santa Cecilia available during his stay.
Hence, Garibaldi’s stay at Rapolano was divided between the house of the Buoninsegni family and the Antica Querciolaia Thermal Baths, constructed by Francesco Arrigucci between 1864 and 1867. Every morning, Garibaldi was taken by carriage from Poggio Santa Cecilia to the Antica Querciolaia springs to undergo treatment which, in general, helped a lot. Garibaldi himself said, in a letter sent to his friend Ruggero Barni: “the Rapolano baths removed an uncomfortable wound on my left foot, and the effect of it was instantaneous.”
At the entrance to the establishment of Antica Querciolaia there is a still statue and a commemorative plaque that remember the stay of the hero of the two worlds in Rapolano. “In these thermal baths, in the August of 1867, Giuseppe Garibaldi, injured from Aspromonte, alleviated his spasims. Getting his strength back to complete the magnaminous oath, Rome or death, and to lead to, along with the holocaust of Mentanta, the inevitable unity of the homeland.
In Rapolano Terme, wellbeing has always been a common word. This is thanks to the thermal springs and to the establishments present in the territory. In the pools, those covered and those open, the temperature of the waters can reach 39°C. Sulphur and calcium bicarbonate are the elements that enrich the strong thermal waters of Rapolano.
The landscape that provides the background to these waters, then, unites agrarian and rural environments that seem to have come from painting palettes. White streets, woods, gullies and villages colour this little treasure chest of the Tuscan countryside. A land that gives precious fruits: extra virgin olive oil and robust and unmistakable wines. Agriculture has always marked the history of this part of Tuscany: the old Grancia a Serre was, in fact, one of the farms fortified in connection to Santa Maria della Scala di Siena in the 14th century.
The fields of Rapolano are also marked by the respected work of man: the extraction and manufacturing of travertine marble are among the historical activities that have marked the economy of the territory throughout time. With the l’archivio “Tradere” in Latin to pass down, the community of Rapolano conserves this precious piece of modern history. The street of quarries at Serre, once a heart beating with the extraction of travertine, is today a natural terrace in an indefinite expanse of countryside.