Bad Egart, today a restaurant and museum, was not only used by the spa visitors as a health resort. The history of the oldest health resort in Tyrol goes back much further. It is suspected that the Romans themselves were aware of the healing power of the spring water. That is to say, the customs post at Tel along the Via Claudia Augusta was located very close to the health resort. It therefore seems likely that Roman officials and travellers frequented the health-promoting thermal baths. The name Egart was derived from the nymph Egeria. The water of Bad Egart can thus be considered to be a shrine to Egeria, a helper with “women’s complaints”.
Bad Egart is first mentioned in the records in 1430. The oldest spa bath in Tyrol has three springs that are registered with the Office of Water Resources in the province of South Tyrol. The Roman Spring supplied the bathing water. According to an analysis carried out in 1822, the spring water contained sulphate, iron vitriol, carbon dioxide, sulphate of magnesia and calcium sulphate. The Roman spring is also known as the “Nymph Egeria” Spring.
The water of the “Iron Spring” was once drunk by the spa guests as a cure.
The fresh, lively “Birch Water” mineral spring is found in a birch forest.
The water of Bad Egart was recommended for no fewer than 29 (!) different conditions. According to the description by Dr. Franz Feyrtag de Festis, among other disorders, virulent skin rashes, disorders of the spleen, dehydration of the liver, rheumatic disorders, weak nerves and stomach complaints, gout of the foot, urinary disorders and women’s complaints could all be healed.
The bathhouse was rebuilt in 1730 by Joseph Joachim von Wolfenthal zu Spauregg und Gaudententurm. After its heyday in the 18th century, the spa fell into disrepair. 94 years later, in 1824, a public limited company was convened in Merano under the leadership of the district physician, Dr. Alois von Gasteiger. It built the present-day building. This is still commemorated today by the inscription on the marble archway at the main entrance to the house: “Dedicated as a sanatorium for the sick in 1824.” As was customary for the time, visitors to the bathing house brought their own bed linen, pillows, towels and so on with them. The rooms were furnished with a table and chairs, and they slept in box beds filled with fresh straw mattresses.
In 1906 Bad Egart enjoyed another heyday, when the railway line was opened in the Val Venosta Valley. The owner at the time made available the land on which the railway station was built at no cost. Visitors were now able to travel in comfort to Parcines by train.
The spa ceased to operate in 1956.
A prominent visit to Bad Egart
According to oral tradition, Empress Elisabeth “Sissi”, is believed to have visited Bad Egart for a bathing cure during a stay at the spa in Merano.
Likewise, Archduke Ferdinand, who later became Crown Prince, is supposed to have visited the spa on the occasion of the opening of the Val Venosta Valley Railway in 1907. The most famous Parcines native, Peter Mitterhofer, who invented the typewriter, appeared in Bad Egart as a singer, minstrel, musician and ventriloquist.
Present-day restaurant and museum
Nowadays Bad Egart is a restaurant and houses the Royal and Imperial Museum. The “Roman Spring” grotto is open to the public inside the museum. It is also still possible to see the tubs that were used for bathing in the Middle Ages, a soapstone oven in which the bathing water was warmed, and a variety of bathtubs that were once used by guests in the spa courtyard. The chapel belonging to the spa, which dates from around 1730, is dedicated to St. Mary and can also be visited.