Parco Minerario Floristella Grottacalda


Useful Information

Location: C.da Floristella, Valguarnera, Enna, Sicilia 94019
(37.488795, 14.351535)
Open: All year Mon-Sat 8-14.
Guided tours after appointment.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: MineSulfur Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Ar=400 ha.
Guided tours: tablett with audioguide and GPS, D=3 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Ente Parco Minerario Floristella Grottacalda, C.da Floristella - Casella Postale 60, Valguarnera, Enna, Sicilia 94019, Tel: +39-0935-958105, Fax: +39-0935-958105. E-mail:
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.

History

late 18th century begin of mining.
11-APR-1825 permission to open the Floristella mine granted.
1848 20 miners died in a fire at Solfara Grottacalda.
1986 mine closed.
1991 Parco Minerario Floristella Grottacalda established.

Geology


Description

Parco Minerario Floristella Grottacalda (Floristella Grottacalda Mining Park) is a so-called mine park, in other words it's a certain area with , not a mine. There are two abandoned sulfur mines in the park after which it was named, Floristella and Grottacalda mine. The site is visited on a walking trail which requires some walking and good shoes. First there is a movie with an introduction to the site in Italian or English. Then the visitors are equipped with a tablet with audioguide and GPS based map, which guides them through the site. Depending on you walking speed, the visit takes about three hours. Good walking shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather are required. Bring something to drink and eat and don't forget the sun protection.

The visit to the park is quite impressive and includes several headframes, the ruined palace of the former owners, kilns for the production of sulfur, and numerous ruins of mine buildings. It does not include an underground tour though. It is an open air museum.

The sulfur was found on the surface and known for a very long time, but there was actually not much use for it. But in 1791 Nicolas Leblanc, the French chemist and physician, discovered a method of manufacturing soda ash by treating common salt with sulphuric acid. As a result there was now demand for large quantities of sulfur on international markets. The mining started at this time, locals were mining manually on the surface, under poor conditions. This changed in the mid 19th century when real mines were opened, and some work was replaced by machinery. Agostino Pennisi di Floristella (*1832-✝1885), an Italian entrepreneur and actually owner of the whole area, opened the Floristella mine in 1825. He lived in the now ruined palace, but he also had rooms there for research and experimentation. So he improved the mining and, at least indirectly, improved the situation of the miners. In the end, a sick or dead miner can not work.

The Solfara Grottacalda (Grottacalda sulfur mine) was already operating in 1839, when it was opened is unknown. It was owned by the principe di Sant'Elia (Prince of Sant'Elia).

The crisis of the sulfur mines began in the 1930s, but due to the Second World War there was a revival. The next crisis hit in 1963. Due to the danger of closures and massive loss of work the Regione Siciliana acquired the mines through the Ente minerario siciliano (Sicilian Mining Organization), a government owned mining company. They continued mining and even sunk a new shaft in the 1970s. But in 1989 the mine was finally closed.

In 1991 the Parco Minerario Floristella Grottacalda was established by decree. They were staffed by the former Sicilian mining body and the Forestry Corps of the Sicilian Region.