Mining Museum – Montecatini

Mining Museum – Montecatini

The Mining Museum is located in Montecatini Val di Cecina, in one of the most unspoiled areas of the Tuscany region. The current museum complex stands on the remains of the ancient Caporciano mine, which remained active until the early twentieth century. The origins of the mining site are traced by experts to the Etruscan era (who lived between the ninth and first centuries BC). During the nineteenth century, the Caporciano mine represented the most important center in Europe for the extraction of copper. A century later the mine was abandoned, also due to the outbreak of the two World Wars in the first half of the twentieth century. Thanks to a joint effort by the European Union, the Region of Tuscany, the Province of Pisa and the Community of the Val di Cecina, the ancient copper mine of Caporciano has been recovered.

The museum is located a few kilometers from our hotel in Volterra with a wonderful view of the Val di Cecina

Visit to the Mining Museum of Montecatini Val di Cecina

The museum complex of the Montecatini Mines is open to the public in three distinct areas: the galleries dating back to the nineteenth century, the church of Santa Barbara and the Pozzo Alfredo tower. The guided tour of the Mining Museum includes the fascinating discovery of the network of tunnels up to 35 km long, with a maximum depth of 315 meters above the surface. The ancient mine of Caporciano was divided into ten levels, at the time of its maximum expansion (19th century). Together with a qualified guide, visitors then have the opportunity to visit the church of Santa Barbara. Above the portal is a copy of the Madonna di Caporciano, the original of which is still found today within the network of galleries (fourth level, about 250 meters deep). Santa Barbara is the patroness of all miners. The church is part of the diocese of Volterra and its current appearance derives from the latest renovation that dates back to the early second half of the nineteenth century (following a rebuilding work that took place at the end of the eighteenth century). The other attraction worthy of interest during a visit to the Montecatini Mining Museum is the Pozzo Alfredo tower, where the original freight elevator can still be admired today.

Information and curiosities about the museum complex of the former Caporciano mine

The duration of the visit to the museum complex of the ancient mine of Caporciano is estimated at around two hours and is suitable for both adults traveling alone and as a couple and families with children. The visit is paid and requires the presence of one or more local tourist guides, whose preparation, friendliness and sympathy are much appreciated. During the total two hours, most of the visit is concentrated outside rather than inside. One of the main places of interest is the tower of Pozzo Alfredo, on which the guides linger longer, telling numerous anecdotes. To find out the times, dates of visits and ticket prices that are always updated, the advice is to connect to the official website of the Museum of Mines available at this address. One last curiosity: the famous Montedison company, one of the most important Italian and international industries operating in the twentieth century, took its name from the former mine of Caporciano.