Spa town in Italy
Abano Terme (known as Abano Bagni until 1924) is a town and comune in the province of Padua, in the Veneto region, Italy, on the eastern slope of the Colli Euganei; it is 10 kilometres (6 mi) southwest by rail from Padua. Abano Terme's population is 19,062 (2001).
The town's hot springs and mud baths are the main economic resource. The waters have a temperature of some 80 °C (176 °F)
Abano Terme isn't really a busy sightseeing town; it's more a place to wander, to chat, to stop for a drink and watch other holidaymakers stroll by. A good place to start is the town's central tourist information office, which stocks town plans and information about the surrounding area.
The heart of town is a peaceful modern pedestrian zone dotted with shops and cafes, sculptures and plenty of water features to show off the town's great asset (you may be disappointed if you dip your hand in to test the temperature, though). In this amiable area you'll find the elegant Grand Hotel Orologio - one of Abano's few interesting historical buildings, but sadly closed-up when we visited. Opposite is another hotel with historic significance, the Hotel Trieste & Vittoria, which served as headquarters for the Italian military command in 1918.
A short walk along Viale delle Terme is the historic centre of town. Abano's cathedral, the Duomo di San Lorenzo, was originally founded in the tenth century, and it still retains its fourteenth-century belltower. Alongside is a rather odd modern development (from the 1990s though already tired-looking) of housing and shops, with a giant sundial in the centre. The rest of town is fairly uniform and featureless; mostly composed of avenues lined with hotels.
One interesting sight is the little hilly park of Montirone. The history of this area goes back to the times of those inveterate bathers, the Romans. Later, in the nineteenth century, the park was a showplace for the spa waters. It still has a grand colonnaded entrance (see our photo top right) but the waters have long dried up and the park is rather forlorn. The town's art gallery, the Pinacoteca, lies just inside the colonnades. It consists of a small collection of mildly interesting works, with free admission.
A walk from central Abano is a suburb called Monteortone, which curves under the wooded slopes of a hill. There is an important church here; the Santuario della Madonna della Salute di Monteortone (open 8am-12 and 3-6pm, though there may be services taking place) which has a picturesque exterior and some lovely frescoes within. The walk takes about 25 minutes; local buses also cover the route. Collect a map and directions from the tourist information office.