The sauna experience highlight is a richly varied program of show infusions, “fragrant trips” and steam bath rituals... various Aufguss sessions per day year-round in our sauna world.
A story from Elizabeth Heath - Travel and culinary writer living in central Italy.
"THE FIRST TIME I ENCOUNTERED AUFGUSS, I TURNED AND WALKED AWAY, AS QUICKLY AS MY FLOPPY SPA SLIPPERS WOULD CARRY ME."
It was day one of our stay at Hotel Quelle, a luxury wellness resort in Italy’s mountainous South Tyrol, and I was exploring the hotel’s themed saunas on my own while my husband and daughter napped. As I approached the “event sauna,” I stopped dead in my tracks: before me, in stadium-style wooden benches on the other side of a large picture-window wall, were dozens of naked people. Music was blaring from within, and everyone’s attention was focused on a bikiniclad woman who was dancing and waving a towel in the billowing steam. My first impression was that she was an overzealous sauna-goer who decided to liven things up, or that I’d stumbled upon some kind of private naked sauna party. Was she stripping? Was there a pole in that sauna? I turned heel and headed for the hot tub. A day later, when my husband, Paolo, and I were scurrying out of the snow sauna (exactly what it sounds like—a -5C, snow-filled chamber with an ice bench) saying “cold cold cold!” and scrambling for our robes, another saunagoer laughed at us sympathetically. “It’s really important to cool down your body temperature after the hot sauna,” he said. As we imagined hot mugs of tea in front of a warm fire, he explained that he was a sauna meister and a proponent of Aufguss, a sauna ritual where the presenter pours water and essential oils over the hot stones of the sauna, then uses a towel to fan hot, oilinfused steam onto attendees. Modern Aufguss adds music and lighting, while Show Aufguss incorporates theatrical-type performances, costumes and special effects.