The regions of Sulcis and Iglesiente in the southwest of Sardinia are rich in minerals and coal deposits. It was Benito Mussolini who commissioned the Serbariu colliery in the south of Sardinia in 1937 as part of the "policy of autarky" proclaimed in 1935. From the beginning, the mine was the largest in Italy. 18,000 employees (16,000 of them miners), 33 hectares of land, about 100 kilometres of underground tunnels up to 179 metres deep and two shafts speak for the dimensions of this project. At the same time, within just one year, the retort town of Carbonia was built out of the ground to accommodate the necessary workforce. Even after the war, the mine remained one of Italy's most important energy suppliers before it closed its doors in 1964.
Since 2006, the former coal mine has housed Italy's most important colliery museum. Where the miners put on their work clothes and picked up their miner's lamp before the start of their shift, an extensive exhibition today deals with their daily working world. Tools, an extensive collection of photographs and documents, and above all film and audio clips with interviews bring the mining industry to life. Historical machines show how mining methods developed between 1937 and 1964. The hoisting machine with the winch, which transported miners and loads up and down the shaft, has also been preserved in its original form. The tour ends with a documentary on the processing of the coal and its use as a source of energy.