the iron

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the iron

The iron manufacturing has always had a vital importance for the production of hooks and tools for agriculture and masonry. The great abundance of iron mineral in the Elba Island, permitted the development in Tuscany of an Iron culture, which started with the Etruscan area and then progressed along the centuries spreading in the whole Tuscan region.
The iron trail narrates the the early medieval and pre-industrial history of the steel industry, that already existed on the Pistoiese Mountain in the 15th century. In 1543 thanks to Cosimo I de’ Medici, the area became the first steel industrial site of the Tuscan Grand Duchy. The mountain, together with its thick woods and its abundance of water, was in fact rich in natural energy and guaranteed the motive power and the combustible material for the ancient factories where the manufacturing of iron took place.
The Ecomuseum invites you to visit the most ancient still intact ironworks of Tuscany. The ironworks of Maresca.

Ironworks of Maresca
via del Molin Vecchio.
Maresca is the location of the most ancient ironworks in Tuscany. It was built in the middle of the 15th century and it kept on functionning up untill the 1980s. The Ecomuseum has provided its restoring thanks to the EU funding and local and private (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia e Pescia) resources. The Ironworks is opened to visitors since the 25th of September 2016. 

Inside the building are stored the historical hydraulic machineries (wheels, axle, trip hammers). The visitor can have a go at iron manufacturing under the guide of our operators. Become yourself a blacksmith of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany!

Opening times: every day, making a reservation by calling the free-toll number 800 974 102.
July - Saturdays and Sundays 4.00-7.00 pm
August - from Thursday to Sunday and 15/08 4.00-7.00 pm 
Attempts of forge iron manufacturing.

Museum and educational garden of the iron trail 
via La Piana-Pontepetri.
Not far from Maresca, stands the Iron Museum:opened since 1999, it exhibits documents, videos and  tools that were used in the ancient local iron-works for the manufacturing. Little ones are engaged in an amusing treasure hunt, called “The Iron Prince”. In the nearby public garden it was reproduced a suitable area for the hydraulic energy utilization, with canals (gore) and millponds. The Maresca stream water actions right in front of you two big wooden wheels and a trip hammer reproducing the setting of an ironworks and of a mill used for chestnuts.

Opening times: every day, making a reservation by calling the free-toll number 800 974 102. 
July - Saturdays and Sundays 4.00-7.00 pm (open on 26/07 St. Anne’s Day 4.00-7.00 and 9.00-11.00 pm)
August - from Thursday to Sunday and 15/08 4.00-7.00 pm 

Ecomuseo trekking - The ironworks path
Pontepetri/Campo Tizzoro
The path winds for an approximate length of 600 m from the educational garden to the water intake of the Maresca creek. The ancient millpond flowing along the path was once used to supply the ironworks in Pontepetri, dated back to the XVIII Century and demolished in 1978.

It is an easy open air trail along the Maresca stream equipped with a pic-nic area. Comfortable shoes and clothing are suggested.

Suspension Bridge
In Mammiano you can see the Suspension Bridge (built in 1922), one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, with an opening of 212,4m and a maximum height of 40m from the river level. Free access.
Porrettana Railway
Inaugurated in 1864 and 99 km long, it was one of the first railways in the Italian Kingdom. Its purpose was to connect the north with the centre of Italy, from Pistoia to Bologna. Its bridges, viaducts and tunnels (47 tunnels that were dug in the mountains of the Pistoiese Apennine) make it an extraordinary engineering work. The segment from Pistoia to Ponte alla Venturina crosses an almost intact and untamed natural scenery right in the heart of the Tuscan Emilian Apennine. 

The Ecomuseum has been collaborating since 2016 with the Magma Museum of Follonica in order  to promote the history of the Tuscan iron and steel industry. Discover the Tuscany iron area, from the seaside up to the Tuscan Emilian Apennine forests.

For further information call the 800 974 102 Ecomuseum of the Pistoiese Mountain.

Educational ideas: 
energy and renewable energy
steel industry
crafts of the past
local history
transportation network
forge working demontration

Giardino didattico a Pontepetri (foto di Chiara Traversari)

Alcuni degli attrezzi esposti nel Museo del Ferro a Pontepetri

Ponte sospeso a Mammiano

La Ferriera Papini sotto la neve (foto di Manuela Geri)

Un Artigiano della Montagna alla forgia (foto di Enrico Lulli)