A Day at the Mine: exploring the San Silvestro Mine Park

Mines overlook

Tuscany is well known for her heart-breaking landscapes and in many articles I wrote about it. However, in this article I want to talk about an unusual and fun place to visit near the coast.

Minutes away from Campiglia Marittima is this magnificent mineral park: parco archeominerario di San Silvestro.

For centuries this part of the coast was excavated to extract minerals like lead, copper and silver. In fact, in the nearby city of Populonia are numerous evidence about the Etruscan period of excavating.

Mine landscape
bread and pots oven

My partner and I decided to visit the Archeological Mines Park of San Silvestro on a sunny Sunday in October. The weather was fantastic, not too hot neither cold; it was just perfect. At the entrance of the park there is a museum where it is possible to buy tickets. The people at the infopoint are truly kind and helpful and they will guide you through the many activities of the park. There are several activities that are possible to do and many of them are good for children too.
It can take up to all day to visit the park since there are not only the mines that can be visited, but also the ancient miner’s village on a pike and many trails to go through in the park.

Castle of San Silvestro
Lanzi-Temperino entrance Tunnel

Pozzo Earle

We decided to visit the ancient miners’ village perched on top of a high hill and take the train that passes into a mine. It is also possible to visit the Temperino mine, but we did not have the time to do it.

Pozzo Earle
From the ticket office there are 20 minutes of walking to arrive at the train station. On the way to the train station it is possible to visit Pozzo Earle. Here there is a museum where mining machines are exhibited and the function of the well and winch is explained. The well was used to transport minerals and miners from the surface to 200 mt. down the heart and back.
Nearby the Pozzo Earle there is the train station for the tour in the Lanzi-Temperino tunnel. While we were waiting for the train, we visited the miner’s museum located in the Morteo, a steel shack used by miners as a canteen and dressing room. There are many documents about the life in the mines during the XX century.

Pozzo Earle
Lanzi-Temperino Tunnel

Lanzi-Temperino tunnel

The yellow train which depart from the Morteo took us inside one of the mine’s tunnel the Lanzi-Temperino. The excavation of this tunnel was started during the second half of the 1800s and was completed in the 1960s.
The excursion with the train is really nice and it is good for children too.
Be aware that in the mine the temperature is 14° so it is better to take with you a jumper or a jacket especially if you are planning to visit the site during the summer.
While you are on the train passing through the tunnel, you can admire the various minerals formations and stop inside the huge extraction hall. It is really very large and suggestive. The tunnel ended on a big open space which overlooks San Silvestro castle.

San Silvestro Castle
San Silvestro Castle Entrance
San Silvestro Castle Entrance - particular

San Silvesto Castle

Once upon a time the Castle of San Silvestro was inhabited by miners and metal slingers. The castle was built around X and XI centuries on the will of Gherardesca family to exploit the deposits of copper and silver-bearing lead. During the 1300 the castle was abandoned due to the fact there is no water on the site.
It is possible to visit what remains of the castle, the church, some houses and an oven for brad and pots.

San Silvestro Castle particular
San Silvestro Castle Church
Mine's train

The Parco Archeominerario di San Silvestro is a unique and fascinating place to visit. If you are looking for a fun and educational day out, I highly recommend visiting the park.
What did you think of the Parco Archeominerario di San Silvestro? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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