Parco Nazionale delle Colline Metallifere Grossetane
This park was created to preserve the history of metallurgy and mining activities that were carried out in the Metalliferous Hills for more than three thousand years.
It’s not a park in the traditional sense of the word. Instead it’s sort of a very large section of the territory that has been ‘roped off’ from construction or urbanisation.
Inside this area are most of the towns in the Metalliferous Hills and each has their own entrance gate into the park.
The park’s custodians have recently created a list of different tourist itineraries to help you explore and appreciate the wonders of the area. Each itinerary explores a different section of the park and focuses on a different mineral or century.
For example, the Itinerario del Ferro starts at the ironworks Belagaio of Torniella and Gabellino (ancient medieval foundaries). It then winds its way to the ovens that were used in the 16th and 17th century to work the iron. It finally finishes at the coast of the Maremma, where you can still see traces of an Etruscan iron production plant and the ruins of a Roman villa.
Other itineraries might focus on silver or the medieval art and architecture that falls inside the park, but they all incorporate the beauty of the countryside, the wonder of the open mines and the miners’ tools, and exhibitions or museums about the history and culture of local mining.
Unfortunately, you do need to take these tours on your own and you need a car, but you can get all the information and maps at the various tourist information centres in the towns that make up the Metalliferous Hills..
If you just want to look at a small section of the park and still see mines, museums and beautiful countryside then you should visit the park’s principal ‘gates’ – the Parco Minerario-Naturalistico di Gavorrano and the Parco Archeominerario di Montieri.
For more info about the park, visit its website.