Salsomaggiore Terme: town of Liberty architecture

The triumph of Art Deco in Emilia-Romagna’s most famous spa town

Logo CC

Salsomaggiore Terme is renowned for its water’s beneficial properties, which led the town to set up its first thermal spa facility around the mid-nineteenth century.

The wide array of wellness and health treatments available is worth a visit in itself, but there is one thing in particular that makes Salsomaggiore even more intriguing: the triumph of the Liberty-style architecture of the town's buildings, a feature that sets it apart from Emilia-Romagna’s other spa towns.

Art Deco is a distinctive artistic movement that finds expression in painting, architecture and decorative arts. This art peaked in Salsomaggiore in the early twentieth century, giving life to balconies, signs, fencing and gates with floral motifs and curved, elegant lines. 

Liberty style was soon used in the design of some of the most prestigious hotels, private buildings and monuments in the old town centre (such as the Pozzo Scotti and the Palazzo dei Congressi), and really comes into its own in the architecture of Salsomaggiore's spa buildings.

The Terme Berzieri spa serves as a prime example. First opened in 1923 and still running to this day, this spa boasts elaborate decoration on both the façade and the inside: credit for the artistic design of the facility is given to the Florentine master of Liberty style, Galileo Chini, who took inspiration from decorative Eastern art for his design for the Terme Berzieri. 

The façade itself illustrates this mix of styles, where the word ‘Thermae’ is set between two Eastern-inspired azure blue lions, surrounded by a jubilation of Liberty elements (white, yellow and red marble, mosaics, maiolicas, sculptures, stained glass, etc.). The result is a one-of-a-kind example of Liberty style, which to this day has the power to captivate with the intricacy of its features and the harmony of its shapes and colours.

Info