- Active & Green
Journey to the centre of the earth in Lombardy
Do you like the idea of setting off on an adventurous journey to the centre of the earth right in Lombardy, descending into the bowels of the mountains to discover the secrets of both nature and man? Visiting Lombardy's mines is a fascinating and atmospheric experience that musn't be missed!
Here are 9 mines that can be visited in Lombardy for an unforgettable day listening to the secrets of the earth and the tales of the miners, discovering the mysteries and treasures that lie underground, as well as the techniques and equipment used on site and in the mining complexes. There is also an International Mining Day promoted by the ReMi National Network of Italian Mining Museums and Parks.
Lombardy, the land of mines
Lombardy is one of three Italian regions where mining activities are carried out. Lead-zinc is mined in Bergamo, fluorite in Brescia, talc and asbestos in Valtellina. Today, mining sites that are no longer active represent a cultural asset that is protected by the region with a special law for the enhancement of disused mining heritage and the promotion of the national network of mining museums and parks.
Advice regarding mine tours in Lombardy
Cover up: in the mines, the temperature reaches a maximum of 10°C and water and moisture penetrate the ceilings and walls. Protective helmets and bookings are mandatory. And if descending into the depths of the earth causes you anxiety, place your trust in Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners.
Valsassina: two family-friendly mines
The mines of the Cortabbio mining Park in Primaluna (LC) extend deep into the heart of the Grigna: along 1km of illuminated galleries, immersed in a suspended atmosphere, you will discover the history of the ancient mine mentioned by Leonardo in the Atlantic Codex. There are two possible routes: inside, in the Nuovo Ribasso mine, or outside, along the road linking the mouths of the oldest mines. Accessibility is also guaranteed for those with reduced mobility thanks to the specially equipped route.
There are three mines in the Piani resinelli Mining Park (Abbadia Lariana, LC). They date back to 1600 and were abandoned in the last century. The oldest, Anna, extends horizontally across two levels, alternating between galleries and illuminated corridors that are easily accessible to all. The Sottocavallo and Silvia mines are currently closed, but can be visited virtually.
Four mines in the valleys of Bergamo
Among the activities offered by the mining eco-museum of Gorno (BG) in Val del Riso, a visit to the ancient mining sites of Costa Jels includes a guided tour on the surface and underground. Enter at the Serpenti entrance and exit at the Lacca Bassa, listening to stories about minadùr, taissine (ore sorters), and galècc (tireless backpackers).
Let's stay in Val del Riso, above Oneta (BG): the Foghera Mine can be visited along a 200 m path, equipped with machinery and tools of the time (qui, our deepening). For children, the Didactic Farm Ariete of the Ecomuseum of Gorno organizes visits along the “Sentiero del lavoro e dei minatori” ("Path of the work and of the miners").
The mining complex of Schilpario (BG), in Val di Scalve, is one of the most impressive in Lombardy and offers several museum routes. A visit to the Gaffione mine, accompanied by an expert guide, takes place on board a small train that runs along the original mining track, covering 1.5km of the 60km route. Don't miss the European Museum of Mining Lighting, which also organises educational workshops.
In the mines of Dossena (BG) you can travel back in time: the site was mentioned by the historian Pliny the Elder in the first century A.D.! Fluorite was extracted from the ancient mines. Today, as they are no longer in operation, they represent a unique natural and historical asset.
Val Trompia and Valmalenco: more than mines
The mine of Marzoli, in Val Trompia a Pezzare (BS) offers a route suitable for adults and children alike, on board a comfortable little train that explores the mine's tunnels for 700 metres. Then, don't forget an obligatory stop at the museum dedicated to "The world of miners and the art of iron" and a picnic lunch, surrounded by greenery.
The mine of Sant'Aloisio (BS), the largest iron mine in Val Trompia, is also an adventure park. Explore the abandoned galleries on foot along a 2.5km route, or retrace the route of the mined ore by climbing Tibetan bridges, walkways, ladders and ropes. Finally, enjoy a beneficial speleo-therapy treatment that treats respiratory diseases.
In Valmalenco, in Lanzada (SO), the mine of Bagnada has 4 levels that can be visited, featuring galleries, cultivated seams, and walkways, all enhanced by evocative audiovisual effects. In Camerone, the acoustics of the vaults is perfect for hosting exclusive concerts. The jewel in the crown are the two museums dedicated to mining (tools and photos) and mineralogy (minerals and precious crystals) respectively.