The Roste area – Municipality of Montieri – Metalliferous Hills – Maremma Grossetana Tuscany
(Foto by Rachele Bonamassa)

The Metalliferous Hills of the Tuscan Maremma are located in the southern part of the province of Livorno, and in the north of the province of Grosseto, in a vast area rich in mineral deposits.

Forests, woods and dense scrub cover the slopes and peaks of the Metalliferous Hills, located in the central western area of Tuscany, known since theMetal Age for the presence of iron, copper, lead and silver. The abundance of precious minerals has always characterized the economy of this wide belt of reliefs, which trace a natural boundary between Pisa, Livorno, Grosseto and Siena, constituting the most important and extensive hilly and mountainous system of the Tuscan Antiappennino.

The Metalliferous Hills of the Tuscan Maremma (Livornese and Grossetana) include the municipalities of Sassetta, Campiglia Marittima, Suvereto, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Monterotondo Marittimo, Montieri, Roccastrada, Scarlino and the northern part of the municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia. Due to the identical geological characteristics, the hilly massif of Poggio Ballone is also part, and therefore the entire foothills area which, divided from the remaining hilly territory by the Pecora river, opens up to the Gulf of Follonica. The mining settlements of the Metalliferous Hills are currently abandoned or abandoned (the main ones are located in Campiglia Marittima, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Montieri and Boccheggiano), but traces of the past still remain: from the tunnels Etruscans to the dumps of sterile material from the Middle Ages to the tall contemporary metal structures, classified as evidence of industrial archeology. The abundance of vegetation and therefore of timber is also linked to the mining activity, indispensable both for reinforcing the galleries of the mines and for feeding the furnaces for melting metals.

Chestnut trees, oaks, turkey oaks and beech trees abound in the hinterland of the Metalliferous Hills and then fade into the Mediterranean Macchia, approaching the coastal area of Follonica.

The Grossetan Metalliferous Hills at Sunset – Tuscan Maremma (Photo by eli3b)

The Grossetane Metalliferous Hills, located in the northern part of the Province of Grosseto, are a large stage of softly changing backdrops: from immense green expanses, often transformed into protected areas or nature reserves, you arrive at the fortified villages, also called castles, located on the top of the hills (such as the Castle of Scarlino, an ancient Aldobrandesca fortress, the Castel di Pietra, the Castle of Monte Lattaia and that of Belagaio). In medieval times this area was in fact subject to the phenomenon ofembedding (i.e., the increase of castles and fortification works): due to the progressive swamping of the plains (and the consequent spread of malaria, defeated thanks to Maremma reclamation commissioned by the Lorraine and completed during the twentieth century by the Maremma Authority) as for the Saracen raids, the Maremma coast suffered a strong depopulation. The settlements then moved to the first hills, giving rise to the fortified villages, still witnesses of these events today.

The National Technological and Archaeological Park of the Metalliferous Hills of Grosseto

To enhance and use the mining sites and old buildings for cultural purposes through a circuit of guided educational itineraries, the National Technological and Archaeological Park of the Grossetan Metalliferous Hills was created, which affects seven municipalities of the Grossetana Maremma: Follonica, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Monterotondo Marittimo, Montieri, Roccastrada, Scarlino. In 2010 the Colline Metallifere park was included in the network of European geoparks (European and Global Geoparks Network) with the name of Tuscan Mining Geopark (Geopark of the Metalliferous Hills), obtaining the prestigious recognition from Unesco.

Resources on the Metalliferous Hills

  • Union of Municipalities Montana – Colline Metallifere – New institution, born in December 2011, which integrates the member municipalities of Massa Marittima, Monterotondo Marittimo and Montieri, in the Maremma Grossetana.
  • Colline Metallifere Cooperative – Since 1980, it has been enhancing the Metalliferous Hills of Grosseto with various own projects, public and private initiatives, operating in the Province of Grosseto and particularly in the municipality of Massa Marittima.