The link between the town of Popoli and the spa has ancient origins. Since antiquity, Popoli has been considered the ‘city of waters’ because of the large number of springs in its territory and the purity of its sources. However, it was not until the end of the 19th century that the first thermal baths were built, when the Abruzzi town began to exploit these incredible waters for commercial purposes, until today when tourism brought by the thermal baths is one of the most important economic activities for Popoli and the entire surrounding area.
The presence of sulphurous water springs in the Popoli area has been known for many centuries. Already in Jervis’s monumental work of 1876 on the Acque Minerali d’Italia (Mineral Waters of Italy), various springs were reported in the Popoli area and, in particular, one was described as the richest in all of Abruzzi with its 30 hectolitres of flow. This spring was exploited to feed the activities of a thermal establishment, inaugurated in 1857, which became a renowned centre of thermal tourism throughout the second half of the 19th century and reached the height of its development and notoriety in the early 20th century, also being honoured by the presence of the King and other dignitaries of the royal house. Unfortunately, the old spa, of which important vestiges still remain today thanks to the structural and architectural restoration of the main building, was the victim of bombings in 1944 during World War II, and was never recovered. It was only in 1998 that the company formerly responsible for the Caramanico Thermal Baths built a new facility surrounded by 60,000 square metres of parkland and located not far from the original 19th-century establishment.
The Terme Inn Popoli establishment, inaugurated in 1998, welcomes an average of 60,000 visitors per season and offers an important range of health, thermal and rehabilitation services. The complex, classified as Level 1 Super, the highest on the national scale, is spread over 3,000 square metres of covered structure, located in an area of 60,000 square metres, with a park of 40,000 square metres and a cardiovascular and respiratory route of 1 km.
Within the thermal facility there are several departments structured and organised to guarantee, with efficiency and professionalism, different curative and rehabilitative needs. The spa is located at the entrance to the town; it has a large car park and shuttle service.
Following ministerial authorisations proving the safety and therapeutic efficacy of the De Contra sulphurous water, the facility offers cycles of cures under agreement with the National Health System and for a fee.
The curative and rehabilitative benefits of the De Contra water in Popoli have an ancient history, much longer than the thermal establishment that still exploits its natural benefits. Among the dozens of small and large springs, some have been used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times. Particularly important among these are the sulphurous waters, such as De Contra. And it is precisely on the use of sulphurous water that the activities of the old thermal establishment were centred for over 60 years.
The sulphurous water De Contra di Popoli has characteristics that differentiate it from all other sulphurous waters used in Italy. In particular, its medium-high sulphydrometric degree and low oligominerality (the lowest in Italy). These characteristics make this water particularly effective in treating many dermatological, gynaecological, respiratory and digestive pathologies. On the other hand, the peculiarities of this thermal water appear to be a valid cue to call for specific studies on biochemical, histological and functional variations secondary to its administration and justifying the aforementioned therapeutic actions.