Sentiero e gallerie minerarie del Cornacchino

Useful Information

Location: Castell'Azzara.
(42.7643431, 11.6778660)
Open: no restrictions.
Guided tours JUL to NOV daily after appointment.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineMercury Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided, D=90 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Sentiero e gallerie minerarie del Cornacchino, Castell'Azzara, Tel: +39-0564-969602.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1872 cinnabar mine opened at the behest of Philip Schwarzenberg, of Franco-Bohemian origin.
1879 mining intensified.
1917 mine purchased by the Monte Amiata company.
1921 cinnabar veins depleted and mine closed.
1924 mining concession cancelled.
2008 galleries become part of the Amiata museum system in Grosseto and the provincial museum network Musei di Maremma, opened to the public.



The Sentiero e gallerie minerarie del Cornacchino (Trail and Mining Tunnels of Cornacchino) is a mining related geotope west of the village Castell'Azzara. The trail begins from the locality Quercia Gobba (Hunchbacked Oak) and runs through a picturesque wood for about 500 metres along the gorge Fosso del Cornacchino. The two mining tunnels are named Galleria Ritorta (Twisted Tunnel).

The cinnabar field on Monte Amiata was already known to the Etruscans, they ventured from Sovana to the area to extract cinnabar for its mercury. This location was mined from 1877 to 1919. The creation of the mining trail and the renovation of the mine tunnels was financed by the Comitato di Gestione Provvisoria del Parco Museo delle Miniere del Monte Amiata (Committee for the Provisional Management of the Museum Park of the Mines of Mount Amiata). The two tunnels were definitely in operation before 1889. Castell'Azzara was the hub of cinnabar extraction, second only to Spain's mines in Almadén. Due to its wealth and importance the town became autonomous from the Santa Fiora municipality in 1915. The drawback was the high toxicity of mercury, which caused illness and death, and was the source of legends.

Cornacchino is an abandoned 19th-century mining village, where you can see the miners’ homes and offices. Women and children once worked with wooden carts to haul the heavy rocks out of the mine to be burned in the fire. The heat vaporized the mercury which was then condesed again. The mercury fumes were extremely poisonous and many workers died young with mercury poisoning.