Biancane di Monterotondo Marittimo Nature Park | Experience geothermal energy live
Bubbling mud holes, hissing fountains, hot vapors coming from rock cracks and the ground, mixed with gases that smell of sulfur and rotten eggs.
The scenario is slightly reminiscent of Iceland, the Yukon or other hot regions of the world. One does not necessarily associate the south of Tuscany with this, and yet around Monterotondo Marittimo it is an area where geothermal forces are active and come to the surface.
It is exciting that around the escaping high-temperature vapors white areas are formed, because rocks and earths react with the chemical vapors with white discoloration. The socalled “biancane”, white spots, which are formed in this process, characterize the appearance of this landscape and have given the natural park its name “Biancane di Monterotondo Marittimo”. The park is part of the Colline Metallifere National Park. In the midst of green-brown nature and reddish rock, the biancane shimmer like white dots of color that have been set into the landscape by giant brushes. Uniquely beautiful light and natural atmospheres make the region a unique spectacle. A work of art, unreal and magically attractive at the same time.
But hikers not only experience living geothermal energy from the hot underground along the designated trail, but the path also leads past old industrial monuments. The region in the Colline Metallifere, with its ore-bearing deposits, has been exploited for mining purposes since the Etruscans. In 1777, Francesco Hoefer discovered boric acid in the hot waters, which could be used for disinfection purposes, among other things. Today, the Italian utility ENEL extracts geothermal energy from the hot springs, which is converted into electricity in the power plant.
A look at the flora and fauna in the nature park is also fascinating, as many plants have settled in this inhospitable and sometimes rather hostile area, forming an endemic community. Plants must be willing to adapt to high acidity levels in the soil, hot environments, and other hardships.
Those who want to delve more deeply into the geology and geothermal energy of this unique region in Tuscany can learn exciting background information at the Museo MUBIA and, via an impressive multi- media show, make contact with Gea, the mystical Mother Earth, and discover her inner being.
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