Perticara, surrounded by pine forests on a slope of Mount Aquilone, was a mining center of national importance. Sulfur was already being extracted in antiquity, but the main vein was only exploited starting in 1917, engaging 1600 men in what became a real underground town with 100 kilometers of tunnels on 9 levels.
Today the hamlet houses the local Historic Mining Museum, the Sulfur which aims at documenting the mining activity which ended in 1964.
It is an interesting museum itinerary that tells a story interwoven with sacrifices, hardships and dangers.
A significant example of industrial archeology, the Museum is a point of reference for those who wish to "explore" the experience of the mine, a cross-section of geological, industrial and economic knowledge which constituted the backdrop to many human events.
A bit of history
With the Perticara, Pincio and Aquilone Mountains, this hamlet was already inhabited during the Iron Age and offers excursions, climbing on real rock gyms, hang-gliding flights, training and "Rambo"-like entertainment in the Skypark Adventure Park.
The past here has protohistoric, Etruscan and Roman traces. Proof of the existence of the sulfur mining center, now abandoned, which has left an indelible mark on local society, can be seen in the fraction of Mine and in the sizeable Sulfur Historical Mining Museum, thanks to the rich heritage of finds that are rigorously placed within the original environments.
Ghost and legends
Perticara, home of sulphur
The Perticara mine, from ancient times to today, is full of legends and events also enveloped in the unfathomable.
Among the most important in Italy, it has over 100 km of tunnels on 9 levels. It was active from 1741 until 1964 even if there are numerous indications of a much older mining activity. The place lives today thanks to an important museum, the Sulfur Historical Mining Museum, which is a witness to its long and complex history by recalling the activity in the various phases ranging from the extraction to the melting of the sulfur, and all these activities culminate in the mine, faithful and realistic as well as fascinating, reconstruction of an underground route.
Perticara is a mining basin by vocation, since 5 million years ago layers of gypsum and sulphiferous limestone were deposited among its clayey marls. Hence the mining activity that has made the local economy and the entire Marecchia Valley flourish enormously. And alongside it, stories that have become fantastic tales over time also enriched with enigmatic events.
The Devil's Stone
There is another legend, or rather another version of the legend, regarding the famous Tiberius Bridge.
Before starting the exceptional undertaking of completing the bridge, Emperor Tiberius asked the Father of the Gods this question: "Lord, where on earth will I be able to find material that is suitable for this construction?" His God replied: «At the Mountain of Perticara you will find suitable boulders and in abundance». The emperor asked how he would be able to get them to Rimini. And this is where the devil comes into the picture. «Only the Devil can do this for you, and I'll put in a good word. » This is the proposal: «Spirit of darkness, the people of Romagna are building a bridge over the Marecchia and need you to transport the stones from Perticara to the site of the bridge. If you help them, I'll tell you who will be crossing the bridge first." The devil accepted the job and immediately made a commitment. In a short time, the work was completed.
Now it was up to God to keep his word but he made a dog cross the bridge first. The devil, disappointed and angry, refused to carry the last load. So, one boulder, destined for the Tiberius Bridge in Rimini, remained at Monte della Perticara and that is why the boulder is called the 'Devil's Stone'.
In the area, linked to the extraction of sulfur, there were gunpowder mills which ceased their activity with the closure of the mine. In the Upper Valley there were numerous plants, one of these in Novafeltria is preserved as a museum owned by the municipality; it is the former Bonifazi Powder Factory.