Municipality of Fornovo di Taro, Piazza Libertà 11, 43045, Fornovo di Taro, Parma.
Start with a movie in the tourist office in the city hall.
Civic Museum of Natural History: All year Tue-Fri 9:30-12:30, Sat, Sun, Hol 9:30-12:30, 15:30-18.
Civic Museum of Natural History: Adults EUR 3, Children EUR 2.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Piacenza Oil e Gas (POGaM), c/o Urban Center - Via Scalabrini, 107, 29121 Piacenza, Tel: +39-0523-300141.
project Mu.PE Parco Museo del Petrolio e delle Energie, Municipality of Fornovo di Taro, Piazza Libertà 11, 43045, Fornovo di Taro, Parma.
Parco Museo del Petrolio, Ex Cantiere SPI, Via Maiatico, 43045 Vallezza, Fornovo di Taro PR, Tel: +39-0525-2599. 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.
|1868||first government concession for the research and extraction of hydrocarbons at Vallezza.|
|1905||Società Petrolifera Italiana (SPI, Italian Petroleum Company) founded in Vallezza.|
|1954||Italian Petroleum Company put into liquidation and acquired by a group of Milanese industrialists headed by Achille Rivolta.|
|1994||end of oil mining.|
|2004||properties of the former Società Petrolifera Italiana (SPI) acquired by the Gas Plus Italiana Srl including Vallezza oil mine.|
|01-OCT-2014||permanent exhibition Piacenza Oil and Gas opened.|
The Mesozoic sediments were deposited in the Piedmontese Ligurian Ocean. Over 250 million years ago, ophiolithic rocks with many fossils were deposited. Like for all oil deposits, there are three kinds of rocks required. The first is a rock which was deposited deep underwater without oxygene, so the biologic remains were not oxidized but became the oil mother rock. Then there is a porous rock above, which is covered by an impermeable rock, together they are a trap to catch the oil. The carbohydrates in the rock are becoming mobile due to the higher temperatures underground, the become liquid between 60 °C and 120 °C. Crude oil is lighter than water, so if groundwater enters the rock it starts to move upward until it is finally caught in the trap. The traps are a result of the orogeny of the Western Apennines or Ligurides.
The Parco Museo del Petrolio e delle Energie (Petroleum and Energy Park Museum) is located in the hamlet Valleza, south of Parma. The name is quite long and so it was shortened to Parco Museo del Petrolio, and if this is still too long for you, you may also say Mu.Pe. It is dedicated to the oil fields around Vallezza and the remains of industrial architecture from the time of the oil boom at the beginning of the 20th century. The small hamlet of Vallezza is still known today by locals as the Miners' Village, though not much remains. Today there are a few buildings, nobody is still living there, and the road to the village is a single lane gravel road. However, the buildings and the surrounding fields are today a park, and while there is still some machinery and the house of the president of the mine, none is open to the public due to stability issues. So if you are interested you can have a stroll around the village, also you could use a bicycle, but there is no museum. You might start with an introductory video at the tourist office of Fornovo di Taro called "Verso il Museo del Petrolio" (Towards the Petroleum Museum). Some parts of the site are open to the public for groups and schools, by reservation only. There are also open days, organized throughout the year. The idea of the project is obviously to actually have a permanent exhibition at the village.
The much better choice for tourists, especially individual travellers, is a visit to the permanent exhibtion Piacenza Oil e Gas (Piacenza Oil and Gas) in the nearby city Piacenza. It was opened in 2014 and the two parts of this exhibition are located at the Natural History Museum (via Scalabrini n.107) and the Negrotti pavilion (Stradone Farnese, n.126). The exhibition at the Natural History Museum explain the geology, the forming of the oil deposits, and also show some other other oil deposits in northern Italy. The second exhibition show the historical development of oil mining since Roman times. All the oil and hydrocarbon outcrops known in Emilia since ancient times, are located between the Piacentino and Parma areas. At first they were feared for their apparently “magical” nature.
The mining of oil started in the mid 19th century, but was low scale and unproductive. The oil was traded primarily as a medicinal remedy or valuable lubricant. Later it became the fuel for street lighting and then fuel for the new internal combustion engine industry. The Italian petroleum pioneer Luigi Scotti (*1859-✝1933) took over in 1905 and until 1927 he transformed an almost unproductive oil field into one of the most advanced mines in the first half of the 20th century. He decided to move his newly founded company with the name SPI, Società Petrolifera Italiana, to Vallezza, although there was yet no oil pumped. But in the 1920s to 1940s the hill were full of oil drilling towers and pumps. Quite a career for an elementary teacher and archeology enthusiast, who carried out archaeological excavations and published his own scientific researches. During his research he stumbled across the oil deposits and realized their great potential.
Between 1905 and 1910 the SPI drilled a dozen wells to a depth of around 300 m. In 1911, they were the first in Italy using the gas extracted from the fields to power the engines of the drills and thus lowered the costs of drilling. In 1914, the first Italian oil pipeline, approximately 4.5 km long, was inaugurated in Fornovo. And in 1916 a small refinery was built in nearby village Bersanello. During the First World War the oil became essential to supply the Italian army with fuel.