Piazza Garibaldi 23-24, Santa Fiora, 58037 GR.
SEP to JUN Sat, Sun 10:30-12:30, 17:30-19:30.
JUL to AUG daily 10:30-12:30, 17:30-19:30.
School Holidays daily 10:30-12:30, 17:30-19:30.
Adults EUR 5, Children (10-14) EUR 3, Childern (0-9) free, Seniors (65+) EUR 3, Seniors (80+) free.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 3, Students EUR 1.
|Classification:||Mercury Mine Mining Museum|
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Museo delle miniere di mercurio del monte amiata, Associazione Minatori per il Museo, Piazza Garibaldi 23-24, 58037 Santa Fiora GR, Tel: +39-0564-978226.
Comune di Santa Fiora, Tel: +39-0564-979611.
Associazione “Minatori per il Museo”, Piazza Garibaldi 25, 58037 Santa Fiora (GR). Tel: +39-0564-978823. 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.
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The largest parts of Mercury deposits in the Southern Tuscany, are concentrated on the volcanic complex of Monte Amiata.
The Museo delle Miniere (Mine Museum) at Parco Minerario del Monte Amiata (Mount Amiata Mining Park) is located in the village Santa Fiora. The full name is Museo delle miniere di mercurio del monte amiata (Mercury mining museum of Monte Amiata). The exhibition has a model showing the locations of mines in the territory and a geological map showing the extension of the cinnabar ore. There are slegde hammers, picks, axes and mattock hoes, found in excavations. The oldest are almost 3,000 years old from the Etruscan era. At this time the cinnabar was used to paint frescos in their tombs or for terracotta. However, there were also lithic artifacts like maces, picks, axes and hoes of deer horn discovered from the Neolithic, dated to the culture of Rinaldone, 3rd millennium BC. But its unclear if they actually mined cinnabar and what for. The mining history and technology from the early days to the closing of the mine is explained.
Beneath the work of the miners underground, the work life of women and children under the age of fifteen is shown. Their task was to separate and wash the mineral in the "wash-houses", then sending it on to the furnaces. A typical work day with heavy work was 12 hours. Rockfall, mine explosions, gas - locally called "Dead Air" - and other accidents were the cause of many work injuries. They were often lethal or crippling. But the most dangerous diseases were the silicosis cause by the dust in the mine and the mercurial poisoning during the processing of the mineral.
The mine also had its share of dismissals, closures, and social struggles of miners. Their hard determination to obtain firstly better working conditions The Mercury crisis started in 1973, between 1982 and 1984 most mines closed. Miners were laid-off, some were pensioned off and some were awaiting to be re-qualified.
Highlight of the exhibition is an artificial mine gallery which was built by ex-miners. It is a true to life construction of a section of an underground gallery showing the environment and working conditions in mines.
There is also an exhibition on the use of mercury. Common until today is the use for extraction of gold and silver by amalgamation. However, the use for felting, amalgam of mercury with silver, tin and copper for filling teeth, and the use in colour and varnishes, especially anti-mold paints and for boats, have fortunately been abandoned by now. The danger of mercury poisoning or hydroarginism is too great. Also, mercury thermometers, barometers, manometers, and density meters have been replaced by electronic measurement tools. But it is still used for triggers in bombs and even for explosives. Rather strange was the use in mercury vapor power plants, which had a higher efficiency than power plants operating with water vapour. They were quite common in the USA from 1915 to 1950. But the danger of mercury exposition due to accidents lead to their abandonment.