Italian Centre for Coal Mining Culture

Carbone, the Italian word for coal has given its name to the Sardinian town of Carbonia. Its former colliery - Serbariu – now houses the most important coalmining museum in Italy. Just as the colliers once did, visitors first enter the lamp room which in this case has the dimensions of an extended hall. In the large room where the miners once changed their clothes and received their pit lamps there is now a comprehensive museum dealing with their everyday work. Tools, a huge collection of photos and documents, and above all films and sound recordings with interviews, bring the activities at the colliery back to life. From the lamp room visitors follow the miners below the surface and, with the help of historic equipment, learn how mining developed between 1937 and 1964, the time when Serbariu was an active colliery. The original winding machine that brought the coalminers and other loads to and from the surface is still in existence. At the end of the tour there is a documentation showing how coal is further processed, and its use as a source of power. The themes range all the way from early uses to storing the carbon in gaseous compounds.

Italian Centre for Coal Mining Culture
Centro Italiano della Cultura del Carbone
Grande Miniera di Serbariu
09013 Carbonia
+39 (0) 781 - 62727


It was Benito Mussolini who ordered the construction of the Serbariu colliery in the south of Sardinia in 1937. Immediately afterwards he commanded that the test tube town of Carbonia be conjured into existence within the space of a year in order to accommodate the necessary workforce. The map of Carbonia clearly shows how everything was directed towards production from the local colliery.

The two regions of Sulcis and Iglesiente in the south-west of Sardinia are rich in minerals and coal resources. Serbariu was urgently needed to deliver power as part of the “policy of autarky” decreed by the Fascist regime in 1935. From the very start it was the largest colliery in Italy. A workforce of 18,000 (16,000 of whom were miners), a site stretching over 33 hectares, around 100 km of underground galleries going down to a depth of up to 179 metres and two shafts all bear witness to the huge dimensions involved in the project. Even after the war the colliery remained the most important supplier of power in Italy until it ceased operations in 1964. In 1991 the Carbonia town council purchased the ramshackle plant with the intention of preserving it as an industrial monument. Restoration work began in 2002 after a phase of comprehensive planning. On 3rd November 2006 the “Italian Centre for  Coal Culture - the Museum of Coal” was officially opened. Today Serbariu is one of the high points in the Sardinian Park for Geology and Mining History that was set up in 2011. The museum in the lamp hall places great value on explaining the everyday life and work of the colliers as clearly as possible. In addition it includes documentation on the industrial settlement of Carbonia that was built in the Fascist style following Mussolini’s decree in 1937. As early as December 1938 the town was opened in his presence. Since then the colliery’s two remaining pithead towers have dominated the town’s horizon. Alongside the Museum of Coal the former colliery buildings also house other museums and research facilities. 

Recommended duration of visit: 2 Hours
Duration of a guided Tour: 60 Minutes
Admission: Charge
Access for persons with disabilities: For details see website
Infrastructure for Children:
Gift and book shop on Site: yes

21 Juni to 20 September:
daily 10am-7pm
21 September to 20 June:
Tuesday - Sunday 10am-6pm

  • Guided tours optional
  • Tours in other languages
  • Guided tours for children