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Terme di Tabiano

Primo stabilimento tabiano

The history of Tabiano Spa

The thermal treatments of Tabiano are not offered as a panacea, a generic remedy for all evils, but their field of action is aimed at the treatment of illnesses where their effectiveness has been  demonstrated . This aspect, in fact not common among the thermal Spas, has been a characteristic of Tabiano since its entry, with full rights, into the Spas community, which took place in 1841 at the behest of the duchess Maria Luigia of Austria.


Before then the waters were mainly used by the local inhabitants to treat themselves and their animals, as well as by the military, who, on the occasion of the furious battles fought around the many castles of the area, were the first and only "tourists and treated people" who were at the time granted access to this territory. Tabiano must have aroused positive memories in the troops camped in Fornovo for the famous battle of 1495 between Charles VII and the Federated States, since there remains a splendid iconographic sequence of the Castle frescoed on the walls of the Geographical Maps Gallery in the Vatican.


These waters must have procured a certain fame even in times of poor circulation of ideas and men, if their characteristics were recorded in the first  treaties of hydrology in 1600 (Gerolamo Zunti), when this science was taking its first steps. It is certain that the soldiers in the Napoleonic ranks , used them for medical purposes.  In 1806 the successes of healing attracted the attention of some scientists of Parma, as is clear from a letter of Professor G.B. Guidotti which refers to substances that constitute the saline -hydrogen-sulphurated waters of Tabiano.


In 1813 Prof. G. Gottardi did a chemical analysis  and Dr. G. Bocchi an analysis on the medicinal properties. At that time the water, which was collected in a natural pit, was purchased by a "borghigiano", who constructed a hut with four wooden tubs nearby. These conditions continued until the patients, using a road not always practicable, became more numerous, and Don Jacopo Calestani, the local priest, put them up in his house. It was the year 1839.


Duchess Maria Luigia, daughter of Francis I, Emperor of Austria, as well as the widow of Napoleon Bonaparte, ruled  with enlightened spirits, the Duchies of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla following the Treaty of Fontainbleau, bringing to these lands the ambition to belong to a cosmopolitan and european culture which even today is dear to the hearts of those from Parma .

One of the most important  polical strategies, at the forefront of her government, was the intervention on Public Health, mainly through prevention (introducing, among other things, the use of vaccination against typhoid fever). Maria Luigia was "an expert" and an admirer of thermal waters since, from her youth, because of her delicate health, she already went, with her family, to the most fashionable “cities of water” : Aix les Bains, Baden, Ischl.


It was not difficult therefore for Don Jacopo Calestani, parish priest of Tabiano, to convince the sovereign of the opportunity to erect the first plant for the use of his subjects, and after that she herself visited the place in person and subjected the water to strict analysis. In order to be sure of the results Maria Luigia wanted  "cross-checks" to be carried out  then commissioned personally Prof. Tommasini, while the Court appointed on  John Landi, Head of the Ducal Pharmacy, official controls; at the same time the Minister of Home Affairs  saw to commissioning the analysis also to Dr. Del Bue.

The chemical reports, consultable even now, totally convinced the Duchess attesting an extraordinary mineral wealth, perfectly in keeping with present day analysis, confirming the extraordinary stability of the source. The Duchess also purchased the land on which the Civil Hospices of Borgo S. Donnino (now Fidenza) erected the first establishment, where they carried out  free treatments to the needy. She then promoted the creation of a handy new road for carriages connecting Borgo S. Donnino and organised the construction of a building for use as a hotel: The Grand Hotel with adjoining oratory.


Development of the Spa

Dr. Lorenzo Berzieri, was the discoverer of salsobromoiodic thermalism at nearby Salsomaggiore, the first director of the new plant.

We owe him, motivated by a great clinical and statistical interest, the first detailed research on the effects of the waters  on various clinical cases which arrived in Tabiano.

It was a heterogeneous public: aristocrats, cardinals, doctors, writers and engineers but also employees, shopkeepers and craftsmen, also coming from cities distant from the borders of the duchy, such as Mantova, Cremona and even Paris.


In 1866 the plant already needed to enlarge, also because it introduced showers and mud therapy that, in addition to the baths, gave excellent and

documented results on skin diseases.

In this period there were also the first confirmations of the effectiveness of this water in the cure of respiratory diseases and in 1870 the room for collective sulphidric inhalations was introduced.

The waters were, in those years, recommended not only for pharyngitis, laryngitis and bronchitis, but also for the care, the preservation and restoration of the voices of artists.

The most beautiful voices of the lyric scene : Giuseppina Strepponi, Teresa Stoltz, Adelina Patti, Tamagno, Caruso and others, were permanent guests of Tabiano together with the Maestro Verdi and the librettists Illica and Boito, giving rise to a tradition that has never died.

In 1887 Dr. Prof. Emilio Respighi became Medical Director of the establishment, transferred to private property in 1863. He was the brother of the famous musician Ottorino, of the famous scientist Lorenzo and of the Cardinals Carlo and Peter Respighi, and is remembered as the first to utilize X-rays in dermatology in Italy.

He awarded great importance to the use of the waters in treatining skin complaints, one of his maximum specialisations, and in metal poisoning.

After various vicissitudes, due to the succession of plant managers and the ownership of the connected hotels, Tabiano was chosen in 1918 by the new owner, Milan Municipality, to form a holiday camp for children.

Thus the pediatric vocation at the Thermae began which gave impetus to the systematic study of childhood pathologies with thermal indications.



Modern History

The entire property was sold in 1934 to the Municipality of Salsomaggiore.

Only after the Second World War, however, the revival of the establishment began and a resumption of interest in the world of science and medicine for hydrological studies on Tabiano’s mineral waters.

The hydrological science, a little neglected until then in medical and academic environments, probably because of the great chemical- pharmacological promises of those times, had a new boost especially in the so-called "minor" pathologies , however of wide diffusion, such as those treated in Tabiano in considerable quantity.

Thus the concept of overall wellbeing was developed in which the waters of Tabiano find ample space and potentiality ; a very effective water with practically no side effects that mysteriously retains its features favouring beneficial properties unchanged through time.


  • Lorenzo Berzieri

    Lorenzo Berzieri nacque a Besozzola di Pellegrino Parmense il 5 dicembre 1806.
    Si laureò in medicina all’Università degli Studi di Parma e nel 1835 venne nominato medico condotto a Salsomaggiore. Nel 1839 il dott. Lorenzo Berzieri utilizzò, per la prima volta, l’”Acqua Madre” a scopo terapeutico. Sperimentò la cura salsobromoiodica sulla giovane paziente Franchina Ceriati, affetta da malattia scrofolosa.

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© Terme di Salsomaggiore e di Tabiano Srl
REA PC 183700 - C. F. / P. IVA 01690800337
Capitale sociale € 1.000.000,00