Sauna culture in Italy

Who doesn't think of amore, hot-blooded men and open-hearted beauties when they think of Italy? That may all be true, too. As far as sauna manners go, though, it's "don't go without, please."
Sauna culture in Italy - Covered and revealing at the same time
© saunazeit

Sauna culture in Italy – Covered and permissive at the same time

Sauna culture in Italy. Women wear at least a bikini in the sauna, men put on swimming trunks. On the other hand, Italians take mixed saunas and the hot chambers are quite lively. Conversations do not disturb the other sauna guests. Quite the opposite. Many a sauna-goer also addresses the other guests. It gets particularly heated when the favorite soccer club or even the national team has lost once again.

Sauna rules in Italian

But beware. The rules do not apply to all of Italy. Somewhere in South Tyrol runs the equator of free body culture. Where exactly that is, no one really knows. In any case, there are regular culture clashes in the saunas of northern Italy. Visitors prefer to ask at the entrance about valid sauna customs in each case.

The invisible border

As far as the rest of the sauna culture is concerned, there is also an invisible border running through Italy. People in the south like it rather lukewarm. This probably goes back to the influence of the ancient Romans. Steam baths with Mediterranean fragrances are particularly popular. In addition, saunas with low temperatures are very popular. The thermometer rarely rises above 70 degrees (158 °F). Infusions are also something exotic.

Italians in the south like to celebrate their sauna visit as a wellness experience. It’s a good thing that the Ottomans brought their sauna culture with them to Sicily in the Middle Ages – the Haman. Even today, no large bathing temple can do without such a facility. Italian ladies swear by Rasul baths. They apply a healing clay and retreat with their girlfriends to a room heated to 50 degrees (122 °F). By the way, naked skin may be shown here.

Hot Italians in the north

Italians in the north like their saunas hot and classic. When it gets cold in winter, they enjoy the health-promoting pleasure extensively. They don’t need a lot of trappings to do so. The saunas are hot rooms with wooden benches and sauna stones. The temperature can be around 80 degrees (176 °F) and infusions are a welcome change. But only in such a way that no one really has to suffer. In northern Italy, too, the focus is on enjoyment.

Sauna change in Italian

The sauna culture on the boot is currently undergoing a change. More and more large bathing temples are being built, especially in the north. Here, visitors can sweat in many saunas. There are regular infusions and wellness services can be booked on site. The baths are frequented by tourists and locals alike. That’s why they are usually open in the summer as well. But beware: in the warm months, often only a few saunas are in operation. So if you are planning such a visit, you should ask at the ticket office which offers you can really use.

Sauna traditions from the past

In Italy, sauna culture has deep historical roots. As early as ancient times, the Romans used the so-called ” Thermae ” – public bathhouses that served not only for bathing but also as social meeting places. This tradition has survived the centuries and still influences the modern sauna culture of the country.

The role of the sea

The proximity to the Mediterranean Sea also has an influence on sauna habits. Many coastal regions offer thalassotherapy – a treatment using seawater, seaweed and sea mud. These baths are often combined with sauna sessions to take advantage of the healing properties of the sea.

Sauna and food – an Italian combination

It wouldn’t be Italy if food and drink weren’t part of the sauna experience. Many saunas offer their guests light snacks and drinks to refresh themselves after sweating. Fresh fruit juices, herbal teas and small bites such as olives and cheese are particularly popular.

The sauna as a family event

In many parts of Italy, going to the sauna is a family event. It is not uncommon for several generations to come together to relax. This strengthens family ties and encourages the passing down of traditions.

Sauna culture and art

Some saunas in Italy are true works of art. They are often decorated with mosaics, frescoes and sculptures that reflect the country’s rich history and culture. A visit to such a sauna is not only relaxing, but also a journey into the past.

 

Melanie Sommer