On the mountain of Pescia
, at 600 metres above sea level
, is the historic village of Vellano
. It has retained much of its history within its walls, and boasts a square with an ancient clock and a church which was a Benedictine abbey
in the eleventh century.
In the hills surrounding the town are several sandstone quarries
which have employed local miners for years; unfortunately only one is still active. The history of the town can still be felt in its streets, whether on quiet weekdays, on lively Sunday afternoons, or at parties and other events which attract visitors.
Working with stone has always been in the blood of the people of Vellano
, from miners to stone masons, and evidence of this can be seen in the little masterpieces of ornamentation on the streets, bridge parapets, window sills and more throughout the town and the region.
In days gone by there was even a school
here, where stone craftsmen learned the rudiments of their trade. Work was carried out mainly during the summer, and in the winter many of the craftsmen travelled throughout Italy and even abroad to find work and spread their skill and knowledge.
A member of this group of skilled workers was Lino Biaginin
, who, in memory of his father and of all those stone workers who beautified the centre of Vellano, started a guided tour to show visitors the work of these great men: their tools, the quarries and more.
In addition to guided tours
into the mine with experts, there are around 2,000 publications on the subject, and 100 audiovisual cassettes which can be borrowed by anyone on request. On location are photocopy and fax facilities, and opportunities to buy minerals, souvenirs and gifts made from local stone.
The organisation is affiliated with F.E.S.P.E.M. (The European Federation of Mineralogical and Paleontological Studies)
with G.A.E.V. (The Alpine Ecological Group of Valdinievole)
Groups and schools by reservation only
Saturday and Sunday: by request only (minimum of 5 people)
Tel 0572.405448 – Fax 0572.40918
Mobile 330.910517 (Publio Biagini – director)