On the hills of Parma, Galileo Chini’s Art Nouveau enriched with Eastern-inspired accents permeate this temple of health and wellness
In 1839, doctor Lorenzo Berzieri prescribed daily baths in the Salsomaggiore thermal spring to a nine-year-old osteitis patient, resorting to an ancient Roman and Celtic treatment in an attempt to cure her. The child’s condition improved over the course of a few sessions, prompting Berzieri to initiate a study of the healing properties of the hypertonic salso-bromo-iodic waters.
Over the course of eighty years, what started as an experiment would lead to the foundation of a private medical practice, and later to its expansion into today’s four-thousand square meters multi-facility health and wellness center.
The construction of Terme Berzieri began in the early twentieth century and came to a halt with the outbreak of World War I, only to be completed after the war, in 1922. Painter, designer and ceramist Galileo Chini was commissioned the entirety of the internal and external decorations. Chini had traveled cross Europe to Asia and had spent four years at the court of King Chulalongkorn Rama V of Siam –now known as Thailand–, completely redesigning the Ananta Samakhom Throne Room.
While his work in Bangkok followed the canons of Italian Art Nouveau and Deco, Chini poured the culture and aesthetics he soaked up during his travels into the East-inspired accents and high-reliefs of the façade –blue lions guarding the inscription ‘THERMAE’, loincloth-clad maids carrying water jars on their shoulder, tiger heads jutting out from the eaves, metal finials and wood panels. The fil-rouge of exoticness is carried on in the name of the wellness treatments and facilities –the ‘Oriental Seas’ pools, the ‘Tropics’ tepidarium, the ‘Amazon’ hydromassage– and in the frescoed walls and ceilings.
Living up to its original purpose of health center, Terme Berzieri also offers a range of medical thermal therapies for ailments of the skin, lungs, circulation and muscular and nervous system –guests can book a checkup in the medical facility for a diagnosis and treatment prescription.
Piazza Lorenzo Berzieri, 1