The Iron


Iron processing has always been of vital importance for the construction of weapons and tools for farming and construction purposes.
The Iron trail tells about the history of iron processing, during the late medieval and pre-industrial age, in the Montagna Pistoiese region which – thanks to Cosimo I de’ Medici – starting in 1543 became the first iron hub in the Grand-duchy of Tuscany.
The mountain, with its thick forests and abundant water, could provide plenty of natural energy, as well as guaranteeing the driving force and fuel for processing iron ore from the Island of Elba.

Ancient Papini Ironworks

via Mulin Vecchio – Maresca

The Ironworks of Maresca, active as far back as 1388, is one of the oldest ironworks in Tuscany. It includes original hydraulic and mechanical machinery, as well as an ingenious system to produce compressed air.
The blacksmith work is reproduced here through the expert hands of an artisan from the Montagna Pistoiese area, who will guide you through iron beating and forging tests.

From 2nd June to 1st October: from Friday to Sunday and 15/08, 3.30 p.m.-6.30 p.m.
Iron beating and forging test during the visit

For visits during extraordinary opening hours, please call the number +39 0573 638025

Iron Museum and Green Power Garden

via La Piana, 62 – Pontepetri

The museum was opened to the public in 1999; it contains documents, equipment, and tools for iron processing from the old local ironworks.
In the garden, you can see two large wooden hydraulic mills, reproduced on a 1:1 scale. Water from the Maresca, deviated through a fascinating system of canals and sluices, is used to operate – under your eyes – a horizontal wheel, of the type used in mills, which moves a stone grinder and a vertical wheel, the latter beating a large hammer, exactly as in the old ironworks.

From 2nd June to 1st October: from Friday to Sunday, 26/07 and 15/08, 3.30 p.m.-6.30 p.m.

For visits during extraordinary opening hours, please call the number +39 0573 638025

There is a parking space in Piazza IV Novembre; download the map and follow the Car Route towards Pracchia, marked in yellow.

Ecomuseo trekking – Ironworks pathway


This charming nature trail, about 600 m long, starts from the Green Power Garden, then – following the river – reaches the water intake on the Maresca stream.
The old artificial canal, running on the side of the route, served the purpose of powering the ironworks at Pontepetri, dating to the 18th century and decommissioned in 1978.
Click here to find out more.

Easy route, always open and equipped with a picnic area.
Comfortable and suitable clothing is recommended.

Ecomuseum recommends…

Suspension bridge


The Suspension bridge, one of the longest rope bridges in the world, was inaugurated in 1923, for the purpose of making it easier to reach the S.M.I. factories in Mammiano Basso. It is a fascinating structure made of steel cables, 227 long and with a maximum height of 36 metres: an exciting attraction, to be experienced holding your breath!
Free admission

Ecomuseum recommends…

Ferrovia Porrettana

The first railway line across the Apennines, inaugurated in 1864, was designed to connect northern and central Italy, crossing the mountain chain between Pistoia and Bologna.
It is an extraordinary engineering feat, with its bridges, viaducts, and 48 tunnels built along a winding path, covering a total length of 99 km. The stretch between Pistoia and Ponte della Venturina goes through a landscape that is almost totally intact and wild, in the heart of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano area.
Browse the Transapp Association website