This story first appeared in the May 19, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

With frescoed palazzi, 80 miles of ski slopes, acres of woodlands to walk in and restaurants with great traditional fare, Bormio, Italy, offers something for everyone. But the added boon is the thermal spa, which has been attracting tranquility-seekers since Pliny the Elder and Leonardo da Vinci.

Only five miles north of the main town, the spa’s waters contain bicarbonate, radon and iron and are said to treat ailments ranging from asthma to arthritis and colitis to gout. The waters are used in a number of ways: for mud baths, whirlpool massages, waterfalls and in powerful shower jets. They also flow into small grottos where you can sweat out the toxins and also into an outdoor pool, carved in the rock, which offers a beautiful view of the valley. As for lodging, the most charming traditional venue is the Albergo Bagni Vecchi, with 12 spacious, elegant rooms that offer direct access to the baths.

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