Museums and Underground world
Talking about Maremma also and somehow especially means talking about history. This colourful land has a glorious and yet ill-fated past, a history composed of glory and grandeur, but also of tragedy and epidemics, death and destruction. Maremma was the cradle of the Etruscan civilization and there are many museums and archaeological sites that describe this florid and sumptuous past through the underground world of the necropolises. A great example of this are the Vie Cave, connecting the three amazing tuff towns of Maremma: between Pitigliano, Sorano, and Sovana a large network of dug-out roads develops, leading visitors to the core of the ancient Etruscan civilization with its habits and customs. The town of Cosa is also to be pointed out, overlooking the rocky headland of Ansedonia, one of the few Etruscan settlements survived and perfectly preserved to this day. The sites of Roselle and Vetulonia are also extremely important, as are the many museums that store the findings uncovered around Maremma, such as the MAPS in Scarlino, the Civic Archaeological Museum of Roselle and the Isidoro Falchi museum of Vetulonia.
On the other hand, this land is not only the heir of Etruscans and Romans, but also of the great noble families that ruled this area, as part of their feuds, in the Middle Ages. Evidence of their rule is to be found within the incredible permanent exhibitions such as the Orsini museum in Pitigliano, located in the namesake Palace.
The museum network of Maremma offers food for thought at every corner and it is very extensive: amongst the most beautiful and peculiar ones we recommend the Archaeological and Art Museum of Maremma, the museum of Natural History of Maremma, MAGMA (Museum of Cast Iron Arts) in Follonica, the Mining museums of Gavorrano and Massa Marittima, MACO (Museum of the Arts and Culture of the Orient) in Arcidosso and the House-Museum of Monticello Amiata.
Other exhibitions that deserve a visit are those dedicated to the agricultural products that led the local gastronomy to become famous: the Olive Oil museum in Seggiano or the museum of Vines and Wine in Montenero d’Orcia on Mount Amiata.
Museum of Cast Iron Arts in Follonica
The museum is located inside the Furnace of San Ferdinando, within the company town created in Follonica. The exhibition follows the different phases of the history of iron manufacturing from the Etruscan age to 1960, when the industry ceased to exist. The archaeological wing showcases the Etruscan remains found by the archaic settlement of Rondelli, side by side with what remains of the industrial activity and an original furnace. The section dedicated to the 1800s instead documents the artistic production of that time, with a focus on the local foundries of Follonica, featuring wooden chalices and cast iron objects.
Gavorrano Mining and Nature Park
The Mining Museum in Gavorrano is one of the most interesting museums in Tuscan Maremma. The exhibition is set up inside of a 200m-long gallery, and it is structured around a peculiar form of historical reconstruction aimed at showing a miner’s daily life.
Gavorrano’s Mining Park is organised into two different areas: Parco delle Rocce, where the multipurpose area of the theatre Teatro delle Rocce is also set up, and the mining site of Ravi Marchi. This mining park is one of the gateways of the larger Tuscan Mining Geopark.
Massa Marittima Mining Museum
The itinerary proposed within this museum leads its visitors to learn more about the history of the old mines of the Colline Metallifere area. The exhibition unravel throughout 700metres of underground tunnels, set up by miners themselves, who recreated the environment where they used to carry out their work. Several kinds of equipment have been loyally reproduced, together with the different extraction techniques, which have been recreated and displayed in chronological order.
Archaeological Museum of Porto Scabris
The Archaeological Museum of Porto Scabris is located along via delle Collacchie, at Puntone di Scarlino. The exhibition thoroughly presents the archaeological underwater excavations that were carried out in the gulf of Follonica, which led to uncover important archaeological remains mainly linked to the extraction industry of this area. The high concentration of findings in this specific zone was due to the long-running and intensive trade that involved the port of Scarlino already back in the 3rd century BC.
Inside this museum there is also a local documentation centre, where the different phases of life in the area of the nearby stronghold are illustrated, from the Bronze Age to the 17th century. The museum wing documenting the territorial development of this area under the Etruscans is extremely interesting, as are the parts dedicated to illustrating the excavation works carried out in the nearby necropolis of Poggio Tondo