Miniere di Saint-Marcel

Mines of Saint Marcel


Useful Information

Location: Ticket office located in the picnic area of ​​Les Druges. Parking lot.
Open: Viviminiera: All year Tue, Wed, Sat 15-18, Fri 9-12, 15-18.
Standard: JUN to JUL Sat, Sun 11:30, 14:30.
AUG daily 11:30, 14:30.
SEP Sat, Sun 11:30, 14:30.
Personalized: All year daily morning or afternoon by reservation only.
[2020]
Fee: Viviminiera: free.
Standard: Adults EUR 10, Children (6-13) EUR 7,50, Children (0-5) free.
Personalized: Groups (8+): Adults EUR 15, Children (6-13) EUR 13, Children (0-5) free.
School classes: Teachers free, School Pupils EUR 8.50.
[2020]
Classification: MineCopper Mine ExplainRoom and Pillar Mining
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=1,800 m asl.
Guided tours: Standard: D=1.5 h.
Personalized: D=3.5 h.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Miniere di Saint-Marcel, Località Servette, 11020 Saint Marcel AO, Mobile: +39-344-2934564, Mobile: +39-349-2968654. E-mail:
Centro di Documentazione Viviminiera, Loc. Prélaz, 4, 11020 Saint Marcel (AO), Mobile: +39-344-2934564 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

Roman early mining in the mine field.
Middle Ages mining revived for some time.
18th cty mines rediscovered as avalanches removed the debris that covered them.
1770-80 mine collapsed due to poor mining.
20th cty pyrite mining.
1957 mine closed.

Geology

The ores at the Servette mine site are sulfur based, mostly chalcopyrite and pyrite.

Description

The territory of Saint-Marcel has numerous geologic curiosities, one of them is Eaux Vertes (green water), a spring which shows blue-green deposits in its bed. Another one is Cascate dei "Puffi" nearby. This are obviously copper rich minerals which are dissolved by the groundwater and deposited as soon as it reaches the surface. And such obvious signs of valuable ores on the surface are probably the reason why this area was mined since Roman times.

You should definitely start your visit at the Centro Documentale Viviminiera in the municipality of Saint-Marcel. Here you will get a first introduction, some background information, and practical information on how to actually get to the mine. The center is managed by volunteers of the La via del Prosciutto association.

The Miniere di Saint-Marcel is located at the mining site of Servette, at 1,800 m asl one of the highest mines in Europe. The mine is named after the town Saint Marcel. The mining site is remote and hard to reach, there is only a single lane road to the mines. That's the reason why the trip starts at the hamlet Les Druges, at the parking lot and picnic area. Participants start the tour here and walk the trail to the the ticket office and to the Servette site and back. So you should be able to walk several kilometers to see this mine. Good walking shoes and appropriate clothes are a must.

Although the mines were first operated during Roman times an again in the middle ages and the 18th century, their heyday was in the 20th century. The abundance of forests allowed the production of charcoal and the smelting of the ore in furnaces on site. Nevertheless we know during the 18th century only chalcopyrite was mined for the copper an iron. And we know that the miners were quite bad, because they started to remove the pillars left by their predecessors. The traditional mining method is called room and pillar, the idea is to mine a part of the ore, then leave some ore as pillar to support the ceiling, then mine again. It was used by Romans and in the Middle ages. In the 18th century the people thought this was a waste and mined the pillars, without further support. As a result the mining was shortlived, between 1770 and 1780 there were numerous collapses and the mines were soon closed again.

In the early 20th century sulfur became more important for the industry, so the main product was sulfur, sulfuric acid, sulphates and fertilizers. At this time there were numerous mines all over the hill, connected by a cableway. The tour mostly shows the abandoned mine buildings, the cableway and the furnaces. There is also an underground tour, two of the tunnels are visited.