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Vivere la campagna

Mines and wilderness

Museo archeologico Genna Maria

  • Località: 'Canale Serci' (Villacidro) - 'Perd’e Pibera' (Gonnosfanadiga) - Montevecchio (Guspini-Arbus) -  Ingurtosu (Arbus)
  • Route type: by car
  • Travelling time: one or more days
  • Point of departure: 'Canale Serci' (Villacidro)

The suggested itinerary starts in the territory of Villacidro, in the State area of ‘Monti Mannu’. Here, sunk in the greenery and partly occupied by the offices of the State Forests Authority, the structure of ‘Canale Serci’ Mine is still visible. Wilderness has slowly taken back its own spaces, covering the impressive structures with green; a number of ruins of the ancient mining activities can be identified hidden by the lushing vegetation.

At a few kilometres in the territory of Gonnosfanàdiga, in the municipal Park of ‘Perd ‘e Pibera’, lay the ruins of a molybdenite mine. Molybdenite is a sulphur used in lots of alloys and lubricating products; a rare mineral in Italy, it was quite sought-for by industries.

The natural environment of the wide park behind the inhabited centre may be enjoyed in any season.

The route goes on from Gonnosfanadiga to Guspini, a village where mining activities have significantly influenced the development and the socio-economic growth of the centre.

At about 9 kilometres from the urban centre lay the borough and the mine of Montevecchio. Wrapped up in a territory covered with a thriving vegetation of forests and Mediterranean maquis, hosting a thick colony of deer, lots of wonderful structures and mining sites emerge, showing a refined and elegant architecture. Rich in lead and zinc, Montevecchio was one of the most important mines in Europe until the ‘60s. Protected for a long time, the site has been partly recovered to be used for tourist/cultural purposes and reception facilities.

Here a tour is suggested to the site of Piccalinna, the Anglo-Sardinian gallery and the elegant Directorate Palace. The latter, once hosting the Director of the Mine and his family, is entirely furnished with 17th/18th-century fittings.
Also, the fine borough hosts a number of buildings of refined architecture, witnessing the comfortable, in-vogue life enjoyed by the personnel of the mining company. Indeed, there was a cinema, a theatre, a sports ground, a guest’s house for the employees, a school, a post office and a hospital, etc.

The borough falls partly within the municipality of Guspini, partly within that of Arbus. From here, a long dirt road goes through the sites of ‘Ponente’, leading to the beach of Piscinas and to the mining hamlet of Ingurtosu. The latter counts several buildings of valuable architecture and unique fascination. Now dilapidated, such vestiges are surrounded by green hills reaching the sea and the dunes of Piscinas, up to the beach.

Along the way towards the sea, the ‘Gal’ shaft appears as a wonderful mining structure. Now restored, it currently hosts a theme museum.
A series of other imposing structures come into view along the route and in its surroundings. These buildings were once used for mineral processing, such as the wonderful Brassey works; but there are also vestiges of numerous workers’ houses, besides what has been left of the ancient railway that used to carry the mined materials.
Not far from Ingurtosu, enveloped in a thriving vegetation, lays the village of Pitzinurri, once inhabited by miners and now totally recuperated to be used for tourist purposes.

All around, a sublime wilderness has wrapped up into silence an ancient world, once full of life and hard work, now the unique witness of an industrial age that has marked these places forever.