The Park of the Metalliferous Hills (Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark) is part of the UNESCO World Network of Geoparks and was created in 2003 to preserve the millennia-old history of metallurgy and mining activities carried out in this territory.
It covers more than 1,000 square kilometers in a mainly hilly area with a very important geological heritage, comprised in the seven municipalities of Follonica, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Montieri, Monterotondo Marittimo, Roccastrada and Scarlino.
The park includes 34 different mining sites, 41 geosites, 19 thousand hectares of protected areas dedicated to biodiversity, and over 130 sites of historical, archeological and landscaping interest. In fact, the mining and geological history of this large area begins as early as the Chalcolithic period, when jasper was mined at the La Pietra geosite along the Farma valley in the municipality of Roccastrada, and was then developed by the Etruscans, who began the systematic mining and processing of the area's resources. For years, in fact, the Etruscan cities of Populonia and Vetulonia fought over these valleys and hills.
In medieval times, the richness of the soil made the territory's fortune. This is evidenced by the fact that artists of the time such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Giovanni and Andrea Pisano were called upon to create valuable works in Massa Marittima. Moreover, in the 13th century, one of the first mining Codes in Europe was drafted here. The "Ordinamenta super arte rameriae et argenteriae civitatis Massae," sets the rules for the proper conduct of mining activities from prospecting to well safety, from the health of miners to the marketing of extracted products.
Today the park's industrial archeology trails offer visitors the opportunity to approach a rich heritage, where history, art, the environment, technology and different working cultures are the elements of a complex and millenary history, whose underlying theme is the rediscovery of the traces of mining and underground work.
The park can be accessed through the Porte, information and meeting points dedicated to learning about all the resources, experiences and opportunities of this unique protected area in Tuscany. Thus, visitors can begin their visit at the Magma museum in Follonica, the Mining Museum in Massa Marittima, the Mubia geomuseum of the biancane in Monterotondo Marittimo, or the Maps Archeological Museum of Portus Scabris in Scarlino. Otherwise they can find news about park activities at the welcome Center and Infopoint in Gavorrano, the Ribolla Civic Center, and at the Visitor Center of the Cornate and Fosini Reserve in Gerfalco.