The Romans used its sulphur springs for bathing and during the 18th and 19th century, they were exploited to extract boric acid. The region was the site of a pioneering experiment in geothermal energy production in 1904, when five light bulbs were lit by electricity produced through steam emerging from vents in the ground - the first ever practical demonstration of geothermal power. In 1911, the world's first geothermal power plant was built in the Valle del Diavolo ("Devil's Valley"), named for the boiling water that rises there.
Its geology makes it uniquely conducive to geothermal power production, with hot granite rocks lying unusually close to the surface, producing steam as hot as 220C (396F). Visitors can visit the Larderello Geothermics Museum, founded by Larderello Spa in the late 1950s. The museum includes the history of geothermal energy, from research to drilling, to the various systems for using geothermal fluid for the generation of electricity, thermal power and mechanical power. Original models and equipment also depict the history of drilling.