After you’ve seen Florence, Venice and Rome then returned to Italy for the Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Milan, Lecce, Naples and Palermo there will still be much to see and do. You can walk volcanoes, search for white truffles in Piedmont and the list goes on. Somewhere on your fourth or fifth trip to Italy you’ll have to put on the list of things to do: “bore more than a kilometer into a mountain on a tiny train using old mining tracks to a place where you can breathe what is touted as Italy’s cleanest air.”
In Italy’s far north, very far north, as far north as you can go, the village of Predoi has a most unusual attraction. The village, called Prettau in German and surrounded on three sides by Austria, is home to a spa that sits deep inside a mountain in what remains of a copper mine dating back to the 15th Century.
The mine has been closed for 40 years and somebody had the grand idea to convert it into something of a health resort where people can come lie down on lounge chairs while they drink a cup of tea and breathe in the air that is said to cure respiratory woes.
A natural system of filters created by the many tunnels and mine shafts keeps the air clean and at a constant temperature of about 8 degree Celsius. The experience is hard to beat and worth the trip even if you don’t buy into the supposed health benefits (count me in that camp).