The Maremma although now a beautiful location for nature and beaches, was once a very important area for mineral extraction and related activities. Going back to pre-Roman times, minerals have been…
The Maremma although now a beautiful location for nature and beaches, was once a very important area for mineral extraction and related activities. Going back to pre-Roman times, minerals have been a fundamental part of the area. The current mine shafts are not all accessible but extend up to 300 meters beneath the surface, an impressive feat of engineering that we explored for the afternoon. To try and understand how important it we visited the Museum of mining in Gavorrano which is an ideal family activity to do in the area. The visitor center contained lots of things interesting for all age groups.
Inside the Visitor Center
Inside the visitor center the guides will take you on a brief tour of what can be seen in the area before entering the museum complex.
Fabrizio – head of the geological tourism elements of the park explains the various interconnections and history of mineral extraction in the area.
The visitors center contains a range of displays that show some key elements of the mining activities that took place in Gavorrano.
Outside the museum and mine entrance Visitors will find a range of things on display that were actually used when the mine was active.
In modern times compressed air driven machinery was used in the mineral extraction process.
The entrance to the mine is within the museum and lies under the cone display area.
A plaque commemorating miners who lost their lives around the time of the Nazi occupation of Italy.
Outside the museum there is a selection of machines used in the mining process. This machine was for creating stabilising cement.
Inside The Museum
museum, the curators have gathered together a range of minerals and other objects that help explain the significance of the mining activities and why Gavorrano was so important. This includes displays of minerals and materials which people can get a hands-on with and learn about the rocks of the Maremma.
The museum contains a mineral collection that is on display and are examples of the minerals found underground in the area.
A large piece of Pyryte is on display.
Pyrite has a gold luster to it, and was used significantly for sulphuric acid production before oil superseded it. Notice the crystallization on the mineral.
The entrance to the mine contains plans showing the layout of the mine complex
The overhead view of the mine complex shows how long the tunnels are and how they connect the villages
The display area before entering a mine.
Entering The Mine
Following the instructions of the staff, we entered the mine which has been prepared to give visitors an immersive experience about what they might find underground in a real working mine.
The mine entrance.
Inside the mine visitors will find examples of how the miners worked.
Mineral masses can be seen in the mine within the wall areas.
Mine rail tracks and a spilt in the tunnels.
This part of the mine has examples of the different methods used for propping up the walls of the mine.
A sign of the air drills that were used to dig the rock away.
A mock-up of how dynamite was used to blast rock
Mine props made of wood.
The mines had to be ventilated. Here is a vent shaft.
A working air compressor drill is set up that is switched on for visitors to understand how it worked.
Once the tour inside the mine is complete visitors are able to visit the amphitheater and also the village is close which gives an important context to the area.
The exit to the mine.
The mine is located very close to the village and was the reason the village existed.
Mining tools outside the mine.
The Pit Head Of Ravi Marchi
A few km down the road in the village of Ravi are the remains and pit-head towers with lift gear, which are also open to visitors on specific tours. We looked around the workings and got a look close up at how the above-ground part of a mine functions.
Ravi contains pithead gear and was the entrance to another part of the mine complex.
Ravi Marchi Mine pit head.
Prices and opening times vary through the year, check for the latest
Visit – Only Guided Tours.
Museum and tunnels Plus Ravi Marchi
Adults € 8,00
Reduced € 4,00 (famiglie e gruppi – under 12 – over 65 – scuole)
If you want to know more and find out in more
detail about the group visits that are possible and other information, then visit the website from the visitor center.