Rocca Estense

The Rocca Estense of San Martino in Rio

Destroyed by Federico Barbarossa in 1167, it was rebuilt with tough towers and passed to Roberti of Reggio Emilia. Towards 1420 it passed under the rule of the Estensi, from 1501 to a branch of the Estensi’s family and from the second half of the eighteenth century to the Rango d’Aragona.

There is a long and fascinating story behind the Rocca Estense of San Martino in Rio (Reggio Emilia), which can be visited every Sunday morning. Its quadrangular structure retains an intact square corner tower with Ghibelline merlature. On the ground floor there is the Museum of Agriculture and Rural World, with a room that keeps traces of ceiling decorations (XV century) depicting Estonian firms; always on the ground floor is worth a visit to the Chapel of St. John, built in 1395, which still retains the brickwork of the portal, the apse and the original marble altar in Verona with a sandstone arms of Roberti from Tripoli and a precious San Martino, always in sandstone. On the grand floor, however, the large lobby has a piece of original ceiling decorated in the 17th century.

From the entrance hall you can access to the large west wing halls, which were rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century to transform the ancient fortress into a noble residence. From here you go to the Theater Room, which was used for this purpose from the middle of the nineteenth century to the thirties, and then to the Marquis of San Martino’s apartment: here the walls and vaults have been redecorated for the will of the last Marquis, Don Paolo d’Aragona, with backgrounds and lakeside landscapes.

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Pompeii Fuoriporta

Pompeii, a jump back in time

A journey of about six hours between the wonders of ancient Pompeii, during which you can immerse yourself fully in the atmosphere of this timeless place and enjoy the beauties of the surrounding landscape.

Accessing the excavations from the entrance to Porta Marina or Piazza Amfiteatro, the route develops around “via dell’Abbondanza”. Through this long road you will be able to admire the Amphitheater, which which contained nearly 20,000 viewers – a place full of history ideally joining the 80 B.C., the year of its construction, in 1971, when Pink Floyd recorded here a concert that would pass to the history of rock. And, the Garden of the Fugitives, who keeps the casts of some victims who tried in vain to save themselves from the fury of Vesuvius.

At the end of the road that runs along the Amphitheater, the walk meets Abundance Street where the Teatro Grande and the Teatro Piccolo are still connected today: if the first plays were on stage the plays of Terenzio and Plauto, the second was mainly used for musical performances. Continuing on Abundance Street, here we are at the Forum, the heart of the ancient city where political debates were organized and which housed businesses and public buildings; It is no coincidence that some of the most wonderful monuments of Pompeii are concentrated in the vicinity of the Forum: the Basilica, the Temple of Jupiter, the Public Liturgy, the Macellum and the Vespasian Temple.

Here, too, there are still the first meeting houses of history, the so-called “Lupanare” of Roman memory, which can be visited with a small deviation on the right; a detour, however, is worth doing because, going to via degli Agustali you can reach Casa del Fauno and the House of the ancient hunting. The wonders of Pompeii never end: those who want to continue this wonderful tour will be able to discover the Necropolis, the Garden House of Hercules, the Stabai Baths, the Augusta Fort Temple, the Dioscuri House, the House of Sallust and the Villa of Mysteries.

the Mining Museum (meeting with history and work objects) and the Mineralogical Museum, with exposure of the minerals of Valmalenco.

Valmalenco, the ancient mine that became an Ecomuseum

Not a simple exhibition space, but rather a place that preserves the collective memory of an entire territory. It is the Mining Museum of Bagnada in the municipality of Lanzada (Sondro), a place full of history which best reflects the peculiarities of an activity that has permeated the life of the inhabitants of Valmalenco.

In fact, the wealth of mineral resources in the area has played a key role for the local economy and for scientific research, with its variety of minerals and rocks an international attraction pole. The tour is divided into three moments: the visit of the gallery (you can observe talcum and shifts in the mine of men and materials), the Mining Museum (meeting with history and work objects) and the Mineralogical Museum, with exposure of the minerals of Valmalenco.

The Bagnada Mine was discovered in the late 1920s by the Anonymous Company of Asbestos by the ingegner Grazzani of Milan, who obtained the first mining research grant in 1936. In fact, already in 1870, some companies engaged in the extraction of Asbestos intuited the potentialities of talcum; however, the technical difficulties and the low demand on the market of raw materials still unknown knew their interest. The intensive exploitation of the Bagnada field continued for over 50 years until the mid-1980s.

The mining activity was rather rudimentary, based on manual labor and without mechanical aid: it involved the transfer of talcum through cable cars and an organization of the workforce in teams of 25 miners sharing daily tasks. The extraction of talcum is still a key aspect in the economy of Valmalenco, which with one active mine is imposed on the international market. Of course, technological evolution has brought about profound changes in modernity, although it has not been able to erase the historical memory that the Bagnada Mine – nowadays Museum – wants to testify.

Visit to the Museum is only by reservation by calling the Tourist Consortium Sondrio and Valmalenco. Costs are: 8 euro – reduced entrance – children 5-12 years and older than 70 years, 11 euros – full entrance. Group and school visits are made.

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