The first witness of permanent human presence in this area goes back to the Neolithic age. From historical reports it is thought that the presence of people was motivated mainly by agricultural opportunity. The discovery of metal artifacts of the (Neolithic) age, offer proof that the people of that time lived for a long period in the area of San Giuliano Terme. At the time the area was decidedly different, going from a hilly region down to the coastal strip just above sea level. Based on historical artifacts found in the area, we can describe the coastal plain as filled with small landings, and the subject of consistent reclaiming operations.
This is an area that, from the first half of the 6th century BC, was subject to the domain of the more southern Etrurian Coastal city, Pisa.
According to historical relics the area includes the San Giuliano district.
Within the 3rd Century BC we witness the gradual encompassing of Pisa within the rule of the ever-growing power of Rome. The newly acquired status as a Roman colony was the reason for significant changes for both the city and the surrounding area. Plinio the Old was quoted often describing the virtues of the ³water of Pisa², which suggests that the Romans knew very well the therapeutic virtues of such springs. We can still find the aqueduct ruins made of eight beautiful roman arches, that testify to the Roman presence in the area of Caldaccoli (calide aquae). After the Sea Republic of Pisa¹s supremacy over Lucca was established, the Countess Matilde Canossa radically restored the thermal baths in 1112. The thermal baths underwent restoration again in 1300. During the war between Pisa and Florence, the San Giuliano springs were destroyed together with the San Giuliano Castle in 1406. During the 15th Century the authorities of Pisa, trying to financially refurbish the Pisa area, relinquished the management of the San Giuliano thermal baths to the sea counsels. In a 1568 depiction of the thermal baths at the east end, we find five distinctive bathing areas, inclusive of the San Giovanni Church. This is where later the three baths of Regina, San Lazzaro, and Nervi were established. During the last few years of the 16th century, the Medici family accomplished quite a few renovations by adding some buildings, a hospital, an Inn, and establishing norms for entrance to the spring. However, the lack of upkeep of the draining system of a particularly swampy area contributed in 1630-32 to a plague epidemic and later to a typhoid outbreak between 1648-49, causing the death of many of the people. In the mid 1700 a change occurred that would turn the fate of the village of San Giuliano.
1737 the last male descendent of the house of Medici died. The Gran Ducate of Tuscany was therefore inherited through an international treaty by Francesco Stefano di Lorena. He was the sun in law of the Emperor Carlo VI of Asburgo, and husband of the future Empress Maria Teresa of Austria. The Lorena family understood the tourist potential of the then called ³Old Bath of Monte Pisano². They invested the necessary funds to increase the value of the San Giuliano area.
Much financial resources were used for the re-settling of the plain of Pisa and for the restoration of the water system in the area. They worked on the proper channeling of the water system, the modernization of the existing canals, and on reclaiming the marshland. To ensure the consistent settlement of people the governors of the time established tax-free laws for all new construction. Furthermore, they promoted manufacturing while promoting the stable settlement, and favoring tourism. Overall, this was quite a successful operation.
From the 17th to the 19th century, many wealthy families from the Pisa and Florence area chose to build their villas at the foot of the Monti Pisani. The beauty of the views and the mild temperatures attracted them. The repopulation of the territory started with Francesco Stefano, and continued with Pietro Leopoldo, and then with Ferdinando III, and Leopoldo II at the head of the GranDucato di Toscana. All of which brought back to 500 the number of citizens. However the actual population abundantly surpassed the 1000 because of the vacationers and bathers present at the Baths.
The astronomer De Lalende wrote in his diary, perhaps exaggerating, that from 1765 to 1766 the Pisa baths were the most celebrated and attended in Italy. He boasted about the renovations and praised the opportunity for the visitors to taking pleasure dancing in the ballroom, enjoying the game room, and strolling on one of the many terraces. As a matter of fact, during the second half of the 18th century the thermal baths knew a period of splendor without equal.
Many famous people visited the baths. Carlo III king of Sweden, the future king of England George IV, Vittorio Alfieri, The Countess of Albany, Gustavo III King of Sweden, and later General Murat, the poets Shelley and Byron, Carlo Alberto, Giacomo Puccini and many others gave raving reviews of the area. During the time when the thermal baths were promoted heavily, the commitment to its success reaped great results.
When it was first established only the locals and the sick were taking advantage of the spring¹s therapeutic effects.
Later, the baths developed into a resource for tourism offering health and new opportunities for work. New buildings hosting public offices were moved to this area, and new commercial and manufacturing activities were established as a long-lasting and enduring enterprise that has proudly brought the old Baths of Monte Pisano to edge of the third millennium.

Alcune immagini sono di proprietà della Biblioteca del Comune di San Giuliano Terme. Si ringrazia tutto il personale dell'Uffico Cultura del Comune di San Giuliano Terme per la gentile collaborazione.


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