The Mines of Montevecchio
The Anglosardo gallery in Montevecchio on the west coast of Sardinia runs right through an old metalliferous vein. Visitors experience first-hand how metal ores were mined here around the middle of the 19th century and marvel at the blossom-white lime crystals in the light of the pit helmets. Once Montevecchio was one of the most important ore and zinc mines in Europe. Today the mines constitute the Historical Mining Park of Sardinia, which in turn is part of the UNESCO Geopark network. Five guided tours unlock this unique ensemble of industrial monuments. In addition to the Anglosardo gallery tour and a visit to a foundry and various workshops, another tour explores the Sant'Antonio mine, which - typical of its time - hides a winding machine, compressors and a power station behind neo-Gothic facades including a crenellated tower. The surface facilities of the Piccalinna mine display a 120 hp hoist capable of lifting 20 cubic metres of ore per hour. A guided tour through the Renaissance-style "Palazzina della Direzione" reveals the former residence of the mine founder and the offices of the mine. The showpiece of the house is the Blue Room, a lavishly furnished reception room completely decorated with frescoes.
It was a priest who discovered the rich ore deposits of Montevecchio: In 1842, Giovanni Antonio Pischedda was granted permission to inspect the area near Guspini and to extract 25 tons of galena. In his quest for investors, he met the young Sardinian Giovanni Antonio Sanna, who founded the Società per la Coltivazione della Miniera di Piombo Argentifero detta di Montevecchio (Mining Company for the Mining of Lead at Montevecchio) and was granted a concession by King Carlo Alberto in 1848 to exploit the ore deposits. In 1865, the mine already employed 1,100 miners, making it the most important ore mine in the Kingdom of Italy. Montevecchio was distinguished from the outset by the use of state-of-the-art mining technologies, some of which originated from abroad. These included the 220 hp Sullivan compressor of the Sant'Antonio mine, which arrived as a construction kit in 1903 and was assembled on site. The same mine owned a winding engine equipped with two cages which offered greater safety and allowed both miners and ore to be transported thanks to an innovative parachute brake system. Also the ore washing plant, named after the Savoy prince Tommaso and inaugurated in 1877, was always kept up to date. It was repeatedly modernized and permitted the simultaneous sorting of different minerals. In the end, it processed 1,200 tonnes a day in three shifts. Not least the comprehensive electrification of the mine and the early use of wet drilling, which significantly reduced health risks, were pioneering achievements. The mine continued to develop throughout the decades and it was not until 1991 that the last shaft went out of operation. The installation of the mining park has opened some of the facilities to the public. Today, the well-preserved condition in particular of the machines gives visitors a vivid insight into former mining operations and also reveals a lot about the working and living conditions of the miners and their families.
|Recommended duration of visit:||4 Hours|
|Duration of a guided Tour:||5 itineraries each of 45 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||None|
|Infrastructure for Children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on Site:||yes|
July to 15 September:
April to June and 16 - 30 September:
October to March:
- Guided tours only
- Tours in other languages
- Guided tours for children