The Mining Museum Park at Abbadia San Salavatore
The Mining Museum Park is located in the medieval village of Abbadia San Salvatore, situated on the slopes of Mount Amiata-
a now extinct volcano reaching a height of 1738 meters above sea level that for centuries flooded lava down its hills to the Val d’Orcia, Val di Chiana and the Maremma.
Mount Amiata, rich in cinnabar mercury ore, led to the emergence of many mercury mines, the most important being that of Abbadia San Salvatore. Here the Mining Museum was created in order to collect many documents and photographs demonstrating the hard work of the mine and the many tools that the miners used to extract the minerals.
Monte Amiata represented development and success to its inhabitants because it was home to the second most important mercury ore deposit in the world. But it also signified sacrifices and sufferings, because red cinnabar the mineral from which the mercury was extracted, was considered dangerous and in the seventies led to the closure of all mines around this volcano.
The Mining Museum reopened an underground mining tunnel that you can visit and aboard a train you can take a guided tour that will make you realize how difficult a job the miners had. It will be a thrill to relive those moments through the sage eyes of a former miner from Abbadia di San Salvatore. He will guide you through the Museum of Miners, and recount to you the history of an entire population whose lives and health were consumed by the mercury mine in an effort to seek modernity and development of small towns.
The mining tradition passed from father to son and each family had a family member who worked in the mine. For this reason in early December throughout the country we celebrate the feast of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners. Paolo Contorni, a former miner from the age of 13, will tell of his emotion and pride in being a miner, the great friendships created, how everyone was ready to save each other in case of danger, but also the fear he felt in never knowing what could happen—like the day when a landslide barricaded the mine and rescue teams were sent in to open a little gap, and he was so happy because it revealed the most important thing for one person: the light
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