During the last ten years, the development project carried out by the town of Montecatini has leaded to the establishment of the "Museo delle Miniere", with all the tours it provides.
The story of this project starts with the search for mining activity in the northern area of the Colline Metallifere.
I feel I would appropriately resume the spirit of such an initiative by quoting some parts of the speech ex-mayor Renzo Rossi made during a conference in Arezzo in 2005:
"This project involves a museum about the local archeology and industrial activity, but most of all, it aims at rediscovering the work of those people who with their efforts, starting from basic skills in this field, developed and improved the quality of their lives gaining more social rights. I am today able to say that we reopened the mine to read the society hidden behind it, to make people aware of a great tradition of the past that, dating back to the age of the Etruscans, passing through the leadership of the Medici family and all the Gran Dukes of Tuscany, reaches its peak with the Società Montecatini in 1888... The first positive results of our work can be seen in the organization founded by a group of young graduates who run and take care of the Museum. (...)"
When one arrives to Montecatini Val di Cecina today, one of the things that can be enjoyed is certainly a tour at the Museo delle Miniere, a museum that has been created in the very 19th century buildings of the mine. It is provided with a Centro Documentazione, a building dedicated to information about the history of the mining activity, the underground resources and minerals present in the area of Val di Cecina that have always been exploited, from the ancient past till nowadays. Part of the museum are also the tower of Pozzo Alfredo (the extraction shaft in which you can still see the original elevator), the dam called "il Muraglione" and the church of Santa Barbara.
For those of you who are more curious, it would surely be interesting to take a look at the building site where works are in progress for the forthcoming opening of a new room which will be suitable for conferences, meetings, shows etc. and will allow the use of multimedia.
More works are also underway for allowing the access to a second underground level of the mine in a way that, according to safety standards, it could soon be possible to visit the sites inside the gallery too.
The mine is located at about 1,5km far from the center of Montecatini, an antique, enchanted and well-preserved medieval village.
For a guided online tour and all kind of useful information, I suggest visiting the website: www.museodelleminiere.it.