Sardinia | Mining Memories In Montevecchio

Mines, not your average tourist attractions. But instead of beaching yourself on Sardinia’s glitzy northern ‘jet set’ coast, try digging into the -industrial- heritage of the deep south.


A walk in the geopark

Sardinia’s south has – of course – more to offer more than just mines: the Phoenician site of Nora, Chia Bay, the Nuraghe complex at Barumini, access to the pretty little island of San Pietro… But did you know that in 1997 UNESCO declared the Historic and Environmental Geo-mining Park of Sardinia ‘the first park of the global network of geosites / Geoparks’.  The aim is to protect and enhance the technical-scientific, historical, cultural and environmental sites in which man has used the geological and mineral resources. Many areas of the island, particularly in the Iglesiente, Sulcis, Arburese, Guspinese and Argentiera, but also in many other smaller towns, are reminiscent of this mining life.

 The cultural richness that is found in the ancient miners’ villages, the extraction wells and miles of tunnels, industrial plants and the old railway, but especially in the memory and writing of those who worked or lived in contact, are worth a visit. (

The island’s mining history dates back to prehistory.  Ancient traders and conquerors, attracted by the astonishing underground riches, were drawn to the island’s coast.  Extensive mining continued deep into the 20th century , so it comes as no surprise that Sardinia’s landscape has largely been shaped by mining. Now, almost all the mines are closed. Montevecchio, also known as ‘Gennas’ closed its door in 1991.


Dig in, take a tour

Don’t want to go out and about by yourself? Take a guided tour! organises a ‘Mines over the sea’ tour  that takes you to Montevecchio, Piscinas, Cala Domestica, Musua and Iglesias. Wanna go solo, but looking for a roadmap?  Here’s one: Itineraries in Sardinia > From Montevecchio to Piscinas (

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