THINGS TO DISCOVER:
Hiking the mine railway • The route that follows the old mine railway (active from 1872 to 1928): 17 km that connected Casino di Terra with the Villetta station where the lignite extracted from the mines was loaded. Or the one “among the giants of the wind and the giants of the woods”, through the wind farm to the village of Miemo.
THINGS TO KNOW:
The Copper Mine • It was divided into 10 levels, from which the tunnels branched off, 35 km long and 315 meters deep. The wells could reach 10 km in height.
The town of Montecatini Val di Cecina was formerly called “Castrum Montis Leonis”. It was built by the Belforti around 960. The village is located south of the river Cecina, in the center of the valley of the same name.
Among fights and mines
South of the River Cecina, Montecatini Val di Cecina still preserves a compact medieval core with numerous testimonies of past times, such as the Torre Belforti, the 14th-century Palazzo Pretorio (seat del Mine Museum Documentation Center) the Parish Church of San Biagio, asymmetrical, with three naves and no facade.
Its history is concentrated in the centuries of struggles between Pisa, Volterra, and Florence to take possession of these places rich in minerals since the Etruscan period. The activity of copper extraction reached its peak in the 19th century, when the Camporciano mine became the largest in Europe.
Significant evidence of this industry is the Mine Museum just outside the village: it is an example of industrial archeology with parts of the 19th-century galleries, the Alfredo Well (Pozzo) with its original freight elevator, and the church of Santa Barbara, patroness of the miners.
Sport and nature
The hills and the woods around are ideal place to walking, cycling or MTB routes for both experts or simple hikers. The area also offers cozy hamlets such as La Sassa and Querceto, which have kept their medieval structure intact and from which you can enjoy a splendid view from the Val di Cecina to the seaboard.