Gambatesa mining Museum in Ne
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via Botasi, 10 - 16040 Ne (GE)
Telefono: 0185 33 88 76
Fax: 0185 33 88 63
Il trenino Il trenino La miniera di Gambatesa La miniera di Gambatesa

Mining museum: the past lives again at Gambatesa and reinvents itself improving the usability of the site. The Ligurian mining heart throbs at less than 20 kilometres from the coastal village of Lavagna, in the high Val Graveglia: it is sufficient to reach Gambatesa where the mining museum is a part of the mine of the same name. This mine was closed in 2009 and represented the most important vein of manganese in Europe.

The mining museum, inaugurated in 2000, in its first three years of life was visited by more than 50.000 people of which about the 50% is constituted by schoolchildren. Of the more than 25 kilometres of tunnels present in the mine, more than 8 kilometres of itinerary have been equipped for didactic visits, diversified depending on its duration and difficulty. The guided tour organized for the schoolchildren allows to appreciate the mine in its geological, mining and social-historical aspects, and in 2009 was enriched outwards by a visiting centre equipped with a bar service and a multimedia hall where introductive lessons and several mining collections are kept, besides a picnicking area and some little guestrooms completely equipped for short stays.

A little bit of history

The museum is inside the Regional Park of the Aveto, with some peaks among the highest in the Ligurian Appennines, such as Monte Penna (1735 m) and Monte Aiona (1703 m).
The high Val Graveglia, crossed by the Reppia stream, is one of the most southern valleys of the park.

In the area the mining activities slowly merged in the natural surrounding environment: the first to be mined here were mixtures of iron and copper and only afterwards oxides and manganese silicate.

The mining activity is strictly connected to the Val Graveglia territory also because from the second half of the 19th century the mine, which constitutes one of the most important sources of earnings for the inhabitants, and has influenced the social history and the business development of the local community.
Just to value this link from 1998 the SIL.MA., mine authority, in strict collaboration with Regione Liguria, Ente Parco dell’Aveto and Municipality of Ne, started a project of recycling and conservation of the mining heritage through the realization of a mining museum thanks to particular subsidies (C.I.P.E.).

The intervention

The Gambatesa mine has a series of underground tunnels that were excavated while extracting minerals and which need to be upgraded organically and also made safe. Additional work on a stretch of railway will be added.

The intervention consists of two distinct parts: with the first intervention a tunnel of 150 metres of length is to be widened and made safe. The tunnel is near the current arrival station. The stretch of railway inside the tunnel will therefore be extended from 700 to 850 metres.
This project will extend the museum route to include a deposit of explosives where special maintenance is to be carried out. In addition, the new stretch will create a loop route that will eliminate the need to manoeuvre and will also quicken travelling times.

The second intervention will focus instead on the external stretch and will allow the visitor to follow the same route as a mineral load, extending the itinerary and making it pass on the roof terrace.

The insertion of two automated turnouts will make it possible to differentiate the outward and the return journeys.
The intervention will also make it possible to open the site to disabled people: the small train will be equipped with a modified coach for the disabled.

On the whole, the main operations to be carried out are cleaning and adapting the tunnels to current safety regulations, replacing the damaged railway track elements, positioning and mechanizing the turnouts, building a new stretch of overland railway line, creating lighting systems and indoor fittings, creating transport systems.

Nearby

The municipality of Ne covers the whole of the Graveglia Valley, and it does not have a true centre even if the hamlet of Conscenti is certainly the most important nucleus, in addition to being also the premises of the Town Hall. In all the wide, green and wild valley, which still has not been touched much by the building industry and modernity, silent valleys alternate with rough mountains in landscapes where ancient picturesque villages can be found between churches dating back a hundred years and chestnut woods.

In Nascio it's possible to see a beautiful Medieval stone bridge built over a rushing stream. The ancient nucleus has buildings that are still characteristic, and it is believed that in Medieval times there was a castle situated on a rock close to the current parish church.

Other villages that should be visited are Reppia, Zeri and Cassagna, which preserve many examples of peasant culture: architecture, tools, dialect and customs.
The village of Statale in particular still maintains its primitive compact structure with stone houses.

Oddities

Domenico Garibaldi was born in Chiavari in 1766. His origins can be clearly traced to the municipality of Ne, where the Garibaldi surname is still very widespread today.
The surname originates from this valley, which was called Garibaldo Territory from ancient times until 1805. Legend tells that this name was connected to a Lombard king who fled there in the early centuries of the Middle Ages after being dethroned.

Returning to Domenico Garibaldi and information which has a historical certainty, he moved to Nice in 1770 with his family. He married there and, in 1807, had a son which he named Giuseppe. A patriot, fighting man, red shirt, general, deputy of the Kingdom of Italy. Or, simpler, the Hero of the two Worlds.

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