The Archaeological Mines Park of San Silvestro is one of those stages of a journey you do not expect during a holiday on Tuscan Coast.
In the heart of Maremma in Tuscany, not far from the beaches of San Vincenzo, it is a green area in the mountains where the story of simple people and their past are the protagonists.
The Park is located a short distance from Campiglia Marittima between what are called the Metalliferous Hills and the word that characterizes this area is one: mine.
The extraction of metals from underground here began at the time of the Etruscans, who go down into the heart of the earth in search of copper, and continued over the millennia marking and sculpting the profile of the area and the people.
The miners day after day dug the mountains, long hours of exhausting shifts, often paid by piece rates, to enter before sunrise and get out of the mine after sunset.
Many were even fatal accidents that could happen and for this reason in Campiglia Marittima one of the companies that have worked in the area had even bought an area of the cemetery, so the fate of the miners did not depart from the mountains where they had dug continuously for years.
The mines were gradually closed in the ’70s because it became unproductive when compared with other mining areas but in the San Silvestro area was born a park that bring back to life the memory of the miners and at the same time allows visitors to discover a fascinating natural environment.
The paths that you can do in the Park are different, from hiking trails – you can admire beautiful landscapes with the green mountains that fades up to the blue of the sea – to the exploration of the old mines, where, accompanied by a guide , you go down to the depths of the soil and then along a stretch of the old tracks used for the transport of minerals extracted on a small train that made the joy of our child.
Equipped with a helmet we have explored the old mine, then we went aboard on the yellow train that took us across the valley through the long tunnel dug by miners, finally we ventured on foot to discover one of the best surprises of the day: the Fortress of San Silvestro.
It is in this case of the remains of a small medieval village of miners, wanted by the lords of Gerardesca to control the extraction of minerals which was made among these mountains.
Lived from 1000 until 1300, the village grew to up to 250 people being totally self-sufficient despite the lack of water sources in the area. In town there were in fact the oven, the church, the water tanks and vegetable gardens, and all, including women and children, worked in the mines and made shift to cover the rest of the activities necessary to the survival of the community. After the abandonment, the village of San Silvestro fell ruined before being rediscovered and become part of the Archaelogic and Mineral Park after careful restoration.
Today coming up here give a feeling of peace and tranquility and walking among the ancient ruins with the wind shaking the branches of the olive trees makes imagining as it should be to born and die here, accompanied by the sound of the wind and the clang of picks.
A journey into the past that takes the space of a few hours, just enough time to climb back on the yellow train and come back to the parking taking all of us tourists back to reality.
Information for visiting the Archaeological Park of San Silvestro
Here I will give you some information that would be useful to know before visiting The Archaelogical Mines Park of San Silvestro.
Visiting the San Silvetro Archaeological Mines Park
If you decide to explore the mines do not forget a sweater because the temperature of the underground can be much lower than that of a summer day at the beach.
To walk the trails confortable shoes are needed – no flip flops! – And for the climb to San Silvestro if your children are still small remember a band infant carrier or a backpack. The path takes about twenty minutes uphill but there are rocks and steps, at the top, however, there is a small bar, tables for picnics and a toilet.
Into the mine you can not bring strollers but even small children do not have difficulty in walking.
How does it work the visit to the Park of San Silvestro
You can buy different tickets depending on what you want to visit. We have visited the mine and the Rocca di San Silvestro, using the train.
At the purchase of the ticket you will receive a timetable for the train and for the visit to the mine, be careful to respect them because they can climb on the train only fifty people at a time!
Where to eat in the Archaeological Park of San Silvestro
Given the timetable to be respected, I advise you to bring a picnic lunch so to be more free to eat when the children are hungry without having to wait to get down to the restaurant.
In any case, in addition to the bar located next to the ticket office where there is also a small playground, you will find also a bar near the top of San Silvestro rock.