Abbadia San Salvatore
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Abbadia San Salvatore is the most populated town on the Amiata mountain, the closest, as the crow flies, to the summit. It takes its name from the famous Abbey founded by Erfo, the noble Lombard in the year 743. Surrounded by green vegetation, it rises up on the eastern side of Mount Amiata on an upland plain confining with the volcanic rocks of the mountain. The town's territory reaches from the valleys of the River Paglia up to the Summit of Mount Amiata.
"...Nature moulded there a valley of about eight levels, bounded by severe cliffs...People of ancient times built there a village well defended by a moat full of running water"... Thus, in his "commentari", Pio II described the location. Today, Abbadia San Salvatore, outside its historical centre, is a modern town with wide tree lined avenues, residential areas, parks and gardens, which accommodate recreational and sports facilities, in short, oases for those seeking peace and quiet as well as enjoyment and entertainment. A little further up from the Abbadia San Salvatore, there are the mines (for the extraction of cinnabar, from which mercury was then obtained) which had a significant influence on the economy, culture and recent history of the area. Following their closure, the wells, the tunnels, the chimneys and the Villa del Direttore still mark the landscape.
A few kilometres away, on the summit of Mount Amiata at an altitude of 1738 m a.s.l., practically at the base of the great Iron Cross erected in 1910, there is the arrival point of the lift systems and the departure point of the ski slopes which wind down the mountain for about 15 km. It is also possible to practise cross country skiing along tracks immersed in the famous Amiata beech-wood.
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