A Fascinating Journey into Sardinia’s Mining Heritage

Located on the western outskirts of Carbonia in Cagliari, the Serbariu coal mine stands as a testament to Sardinia’s rich mining history. While the mine ceased operations in the 1970s, it has since been transformed into a captivating museum that offers visitors a glimpse into its storied past. Alberto La Marmora, in his “Voyage en Sardaigne” (1875), was among the first to document the significance of Sulcis coal.

The museum complex includes the “lampisteria,” which once housed miners’ lamps, showers, bathrooms, and more. Here, you’ll find a permanent exhibition detailing the coal’s history, the mine, and the town of Carbonia. Additionally, this expansive building houses a remarkable collection of mining lamps, tools, instruments, everyday objects, photographs, documents, period videos, and interviews with miners.

A visit to the tunnel showcases the evolution of coal mining techniques employed in the Serbariu mine from the 1930s until its closure. The winding engine room features the immense wheels of the engine used to control the descent and ascent of the cages within the mine shaft. To complete your experience, the museum offers a bookshop, cafeteria, and conference hall.

Porto Flavia, once a bustling mining site, has been abandoned for several decades. Located in Masua, this site played a crucial role in mineral shipping. Elaborate galleries allowed for the transport of minerals directly from the rocky cliffs into the holds of waiting merchant ships. While mining operations ceased permanently in 1991, Porto Flavia remained active until 1997.

Porto Flavia represents an ingenious engineering marvel that revolutionized mineral loading processes. A receiving conveyor transported minerals from underground deposits and, with its ingenious movable arm, transferred them directly into the holds of anchored transport ships or onto buoys 9 meters deep. Visitors can anchor close to the loading facility in 9 meters of water or moor at the numerous nearby mooring buoys, providing shelter from the north wind.

The maritime village of Buggerru, positioned between Oristano and Sant’Antioco, boasts an expansive and popular beach, Portixeddu, making it a haven for surfers from around the world. Near Buggerru, you can explore Henry’s Gallery, a long mining tunnel overlooking the sea—an undiscovered gem for most travelers. Heading south from Buggerru, you’ll encounter a breathtaking coastline dotted with hidden paradises, including Cala Domestica, graced by a Spanish tower, and the suspended mining village of Nebida, nestled between the sea and the mountains.

Masua, another abandoned mining site by the sea, features a stunning beach where you can enjoy a refreshing natural shower after a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Sardinian coast. Adjacent to Masua is Porto Flavia, a symbol of Sardinia’s mining heritage, where massive vessels once loaded minerals from Sulcis using a direct sea exit from the white cliffs overlooking the Pan di Zucchero islet.

Embark on a captivating journey to the Mines of Sulcis and Porto Flavia, where history, industry, and nature converge to create a truly unique and unforgettable experience in Sardinia.