Tuscan Maremma

Parco delle Colline Metallifere

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Guide to visit the Parco Nazionale delle Colline Metallifere Grossetane

The Parco Nazionale delle Colline Metallifere is spread over the municipal territory of seven municipalities located in the province of Grosseto. Each of the seven municipalities has set up a “Porta del Parco” which includes a reception and information centre, a documentation center and organizes guided tours, educational workshops, exhibitions, various events, professional training courses and internships to raise awareness of the history and the mining culture of the region. The main purpose of the park is to preserve and enhance the environmental, historical-cultural and technological-scientific heritage of the Metalliferous Hills, an area that has seen the extraction of important metals for over 3000 years.

Monterotondo Marittimo: Geomuseo delle Biancane

The MUBIA, or the Geomuseo delle Biancane, is located in Monterotondo Marittimo, in an area characterized by the gaseous emissions of the boraciferous fumaroles that come out of the subsoil. The geothermal phenomena create an almost lunar landscape, giving the plants, rocks and surrounding land a very particular chromatic component. Industrial applications have exploited the shower heads for heating homes and for the production of electricity. The MUBIA museum offers a multimedia journey on geothermal energy through projections on large screens. Here you can learn about the history of this activity, from the discovery of boric acid to the production of electricity. In addition to the museum, there are various trails that take visitors to sites where all sorts of geothermal events occur, such as vents, ground steam, putrits and fumaroles.

Biancane in Monterotondo Marittimo
Biancane in Monterotondo Marittimo (Photo by LigaDueCC BY)

Biancane di Monterotondo Marittimo (Photo by LigaDueCC BY)

Gavorrano: Museo Minerario in Galleria and Miniera Ravi Marchi

In the municipality of Gavorrano we find another reception center for visitors to the park and two visiting areas: the Museo Minerario in Galleria and the Ravi Marchi Mine.
The Museo Minerario in Galleria is located near the Pozzo Impero, one of the extraction wells of the former pyrite mine of Gavorrano. Set up inside a gallery, the museum itinerary is enriched by a series of multimedia installations that contribute to creating an immersive experience in which the visitor can try to imagine what the working conditions of the miners must have been like.
Equally interesting is the area of the Ravi Marchi mine which in turn operated in the extraction of pyrite. Closed in 1965, the mine was subsequently restored and opened to the public. Here wells, washeries and the mining castles, Vignaccio I and Vignaccio II are still visible. Here you can learn more about the processing stages following the extraction of pyrite.

Ravi Marchi mine

Follonica: MAGMA Museo delle Arti in Ghisa nella Maremma

Follonica is one of the municipalities that are part of the Parco Nazionale delle Colline Metallifere Grossetane and in its municipal area there is the Museo delle arti in Ghisa nella Maremma, also called MAGMA. The museum tells the story of the city linked to the art of iron foundry since the Etruscan period. The collection of exhibits is found in the rooms of the Forno di San Ferdinando, which was part of the so-called “factory-city”, the productive nucleus around which the current Follonica was formed. The itinerary offers a visit by theme passing from art to history up to production with the related techniques.

Roccastrada: Centro minerario di Ribolla

The Ribolla mines are located in the municipal territory of Roccastrada. The mining activity of Ribolla dates back to the 1830s when coal outcrops were sighted for the first time, along the Raspollino ditch. During the 19th century a mining village was thus formed which over time came to have almost 700 residents, while the number of workers employed in the mine exceeded 3700 units. During the 1900s, unfortunately, working conditions got worse and worse until the tragic accident in 1954 which cost the lives of 43 miners. A few years later, in 1959, the mine was definitively closed.

The tourist route starts from the production center of Ribolla, where mining activities intensified during the First World War and the autarkic economic policy of fascism. The Ribolla lignite mine can be visited for most of the original complex, including the lodgings and bedrooms, the venue for shows, the lampisteria (storage of the lamps used by the miners) and the wells.

Massa Marittima: Museo della Miniera

The Museo della Miniera of Massa Marittima is located inside an ancient mine that housed three tunnels used as a refuge during the Second World War. The path of the museum winds for about 700 meters, between various tunnels, along which it is possible to admire the engineering and architectural works that have made it possible to support the vaults. Walking through the galleries of the Mining Museum you will be able to see numerous machinery, work tools and wagons used for the transport of minerals. All these finds are accompanied by extensive documentation dedicated to the various mineral extraction techniques. Inside there are also reconstructions of various rooms of the mine, which were made by miners who realistically reproduced the spaces and activities of the mine. Access to the itinerary of the Mining Museum is allowed only with the accompaniment of a guide, through guided tours that take place at pre-established times.

Montieri: Riserva delle Cornate di Gerfalco e Fosini

The territory of Montieri is rich in mineral deposits and there are numerous mines that still retain the mining facilities and extraction galleries. Many of these places can be reached by following the numerous CAI paths that wind throughout the area. In particular, in the municipal area of Montieri we find the quarries and mines of Poggio Mutti (where the visitor center is also located), the red ammonite limestone quarries and the Trincee delle Cornate di Gerfalco. Not only minerals, Montieri is also part of the most important geothermal basin in Europe; in fact, it shouldn’t be surprising if a lot of electricity can be produced in these parts, able to satisfy up to a third of the total needs of the whole of Tuscany.

Scarlino: Museo archeologico di Portus Scabris and documentation center

We conclude the tour with the pretty village of Scarlino. Here we do not find mines but there is an interesting archaeological museum and a documentation center dedicated to the Rocca di Scarlino. The Museo archeologico di Portus Scabris (MAPS) in Scarlino was created to disclose the underwater discoveries made in the early 2000s near the tourist port in the centre. The finds were so many and important that it was possible to identify the “Portus Scabris” in this very point, which is often mentioned in ancient texts. The documentation center was instead created to illustrate the various historical phases of the Rocca Pisana di Scarlino and the surrounding area. A very long history if one considers that it has its roots in the Bronze Age.

Things to do in Scarlino: visit Rocca Pisana
Rocca Pisana (Photo by Mongolo1984 / CC BY)
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