Museo della Miniera
Part of the network of mineral and mining parks within the Colline Metallifere, this museum is set up inside an old WWII refuge just outside of Massa Marittima.
It’s definitely not for the claustrophobic as the museum’s path winds through more than 700 metres of tunnels carved into the hills around the city.
What I love about this museum is its dedication to preserving what could be described as a culture within Massa Marittima’s culture. These miners had their own traditions, superstitions and way of life.
This museum captures this culture, using the beautifully restored tunnels to document the lives of those who sometimes died fueling the city’s economy and providing the minerals that, when sold, allowed richer men to build the magnificent buildings that now draw thousands of tourists to Massa Marittima each year.
The tunnels have been set up to mirror a working mine. You’ll see the different types of vault supports that Massa Marittima’s miners used, the ways in which they extracted the stone and minerals, and the tools, machinery and wagons they used throughout the decades.
For those afraid of getting lost so far underground, don’t worry! You can’t visit the museum without guide. Be sure to ask for one who speaks English or you’ll miss out on all the explanations that accompany the exhibitions, as well as the background of the mine and the miners’ way of life.
Massa Marittima’s Museo della Miniera is a brilliant museum and definitely worth a look, especially if you’re interested in mining history or anything underground… like my husband is! It’s also a lot of fun for kids.