The treasures of the mines
To narrate the mines and understand their history is not something you can take for granted. Labour, suffering, bereavements, exploitation, are facts that seem to dominate, uncontested, on the memory of those places, of those people, of those epochs that have almost disappeared. Nonetheless, in the words and in the descriptions of those who lived the mines, or of the scholars who spent their lives studying them, we won’t find only that narrative aspect. The mines represent also an important moment of pride, experimentation, innovation and social liberation. Today, the mines describe a tale dimension where the inhabitants identify their origins, that portion of memory that is still alive, received from a relative that in the mines has worked for real. And this tale can be passed on to new generations, without rhetoric, but also without a dangerous oblivion. So, let’s enter the rock salt mines of Realmonte or Recalmuto, which offer an unprecedented experience inside actual cathedrals dug in the rock; or visit in Cianciana the Monument to the Sulphur Miner, who has become an actual national hero; the industrial archaeology’s structures of the Mine of Gaspa and of the Gill ovens in Villarosa; the Mining Museum in Sommatino. Or again, take a trip to the Zolfara Apaforte/stincone e Gabbara in San Cataldo; or visit in Riesi the big mine of Trabia Tallarita, turned into a new Museum; or the Museo della Zolfara in Montedoro; and, finally, the Museo Mineralogico e Paleontologico della Zolfara in Caltanissetta. All places that have known the extreme harshness of the mine work, but that, today, push and get organised to narrate it, so that the evolution of mankind will keep in mind what not to do anymore, for a cleaner and more liveable future.