Itinerary detail

Stories of the Mines

Canale Serci mine, ruins

The tour begins in the residential area of Villacidro, where the beautiful green cloak surrounding the upper portion of the town reminds one every day of the way the environment was exploited to the advantage of the mining industry.

One of the most powerful and significant elements of Sardinia’s industrial-mining revolution is seen by the way its landscapes were altered. Ancient woods were cut down to feed the ovens of the Fonderia Mandel foundry located in the countryside near the rio Leni river. this very aspect is pointed out often and with passion in the works of Dessì particularly in Paese d’Ombre (Town of Shadows) and Il Disertore (The Deserter) as well as in many pages of his diaries and essays written about Sardinia and Villacidro.

Villacidro has an important history of mining, although there are no renovated sites open to visitors. Nevertheless, it is particularly fascinating to look around and see the remnants of the mining activity in these woods and throughout the countryside like the Canale Serci mine, immersed in the woods of Monti Mannu that now host the Forestry Department Heradquarters along with the many tunnels now covered with plant life, hidden among the trees. Centuries before the arrival of the mining industry, the mountains of Villacidro were frequented by man and were both home to and the source of important activities.

The mountains were the expression of human life and activities (more so in the past), they were silent and secluded: the solitude and slowness of the coal workers, the long absence of the shepherds, woodcutting according to ancient rules which respected the woods, gathering acorns etc. Along the routes, visitors can see the work sites of coal workers that bear witness to an intense activity from the days gone by that is still visible and practiced (albeit minimally); ancient sheep pens and wood sheds all tell of long absences and silence, far away from family and town. Walking through these woods and taking glimpses of the marks left by man gives one a perception of time as being slow, profound and ancient, offering powerful suggestion.

Route type:

Travel time:
full day

Geographic map

To be seen

Monti Mannu Park

One of the best known and loved areas of Villacidro, the woods in Monti Mannu is often the destination of weekend excursions and trips to the countryside.

Pine Grove

A lovely, dense pine grove surrounds the upper portion of Villacidro, entirely covering the slopes of Monte Omo and Monte Cuccureddu upon which the town is positioned.

The mine of the Serci canal

Numerous testaments of the buildings and structures belonging to the mine of the Serci canal still remain: the washery, some structures once used as miners’ dwellings, the director’s building, present day restructured and used as offices for “l'Ente Foreste della Sardegna”, and many mining tunnels.