Montecatini Val di Cecina
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The Mine Museum in Montecatini Val di Cecina is one of the many museums in the area and well-worth a visit along with the Etruscan Guarnacci museum, the Art Gallery and the Alabaster Ecomuseum in Volterra and the Geothermal museum in Larderello. The mine museum presents a documentation and exhibits items pertaining to the resources and the mining industry in the Upper Cecina Valley.
A visit to the museum supplements and completes the exploration of the Caporciano mine and the Alfredo shaft (the heart of the copper mine), the entrance to the mine (that exhibits a reconstruction of the administrative offices) and the visit to the Muraglione dam (built for the mine's water supply). The museum not only houses a documentation of the mining industry from 1827 to 1907 when the Caporciano mine was the most fruitful in Europe but also a rich collection of minerals and stones utilized in the Cecina Valley since antiquity. The museum thematically illustrates the mines in the area, the extraction of the rock salt from antiquity to the present day, the working techniques of the alabaster craft, the geothermal basin and utilization of the endogenous steam, the splendid mosaics made of calcedony, the history of lignite, the "sulphureous springs" and displays a rich colourful array of minerals.
On exhibit is an interesting and voluminous collection of original documents including administrative records such as pay-rolls, work programmes, registers and corresspondence and technical drawings such as plans of the mines, outlines of the galleries and drawings of the machinery and equipment. The museum offers a didactic and scientific voyage through the fascinating and mysterious environment of the mines.
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