Parco Minerario dell'Isola d'Elba - Museo dei Minerali dell'Elba e dell'Arte Mineraria [Mineral Park of Elba Island - Mineral Museum of Elba and of the Mining Art]
«Elba Island could rightly be considered the richest mineralogical laboratory of Tuscany. This is the site where it seems nature has assembled astonishing phenomena in a small diameter, and constantly summons her scholars, enticed and driven … by her wealth of mines, and the varied precious crystallisations of the many minerals that lump together in these rocks and unite in beautiful forms»: so wrote Emanuaele Repetti in his Dizionario Geografico Fisico Storico della Toscana.
From the iron mine of Rio nell’Elba, which has the most consistent vein of the entire island, to that of Rio Marina, from the mine of Rio Terranera to that of Punta Calamita di Capoliveri, the quarries of Elba are rich in iron and other minerals, as well as large quantities of magnetite, along with marble and granite.
The Museums scattered throughout the territory dedicated to mineralogy and mining activity propose many specimens of the island’s stones, preserve exclusive documents, and exhibit photographic material of fields of the early 20th century. In the 1980s, the discontinuation of mining activities gave rise to the slow reconversion of mining areas into tourist destinations, maintaining many peculiarities of the territory unaltered, however. History, culture and tradition perfectly complement each other in the proposal that the Mineral Park of Elba Island offers its visitors.
In 2001, Museo dei Minerali dell'Elba e dell'Arte Mineraria was founded, the integrating element of the Park. Housed in the eighteenth-century Palazzo del Burņ, formerly headquarters of the Mines Administration, the Museum exhibits samples of Elban minerals in an environment that recreates the blacksmith’s workshop with original tools and materials found in the abandoned mine fields, and photographic documentation on the old mines of Rio and Capoliveri. The Mineral Park Society also manages the Gennai Tonietti Collection, previously exhibited in the Town Hall of Rio Marina. Finally, one can visit the life-size reconstructions of a shelter for miners and a tunnel, made using material recovered in the abandoned mines. On established days and at set times, guided tours to the open-air mine of Rio start out from the Museum.
Texts by Laura Manetti
English translation by Victor Beard
Last update 05/feb/2008