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The Sillene spring

Sillene was a nymph from the kingdom of the dead where Diana would often go when she was not in the moon or hunting in the forest. Having found a path in the dark of the earth to emerge into the world of the living, the nymph looked out in the night onto a grassy field. Here, she spied a shepherd who was sleeping next to his sheep, illuminated by the light of his camp. He was young and handsome and Sillene fell in love with him. So, every night, she started leaving the kingdom of the dead and coming up to Earth, looking out to gaze upon the shepherd while he slept. Unfortunately, the terrible Diana noticed and punished the nymph by transforming her into a spring from which healing waters still flow forth. The story was discovered in some old handwritten notes by a priest which inspired a thermal establishment in Chianciano to be named after her. It is more likely that Sillene is a corruption of Selene, another name for Diana, or Sethlas, an Etruscan underworld god. The etymology is uncertain, but the link between the waters of Chianciano and the Etruscans and Romans is certain as demonstrated by the extraordinary “Museo delle Acque” (Museum of the Waters), packed with artefacts from that period and mostly related to the springs. It is no coincidence that the current thermal baths (in the Sillene establishment) are dedicated to Theia, another ancient divinity, linked to the earth and the moon.