The municipality of Novafeltria, known as Mercatino Marecchia until 1941, was founded in 1907 from the union of several isolated hamlets of the municipality of Talamello. However the original nucleus, which included the church of San Pietro and the Oratory of Santa Marina, dates from 950.
The village was chosen as the residence of the Segni Counts from Bologna who built a sumptuous villa here during the first half of the 17th century, now the town hall. Over the years, Novafeltria became an important agricultural and commercial centre and the venue for numerous fairs, especially during August. Today, the town is the focal point of all of the valley’s business activities.
In the small town of Perticara, which was once an important mining centre, there is an interesting mining history museum, one of the most important and well-stocked museums of its kind in Europe. It traces the centuries-old activity of extracting sulphur and contains archaeological exhibits that date from the period between the Bronze Age and the Umbran, Etruscan and Roman civilisations.
On the mountain that overlooks the town (900 metres above sea level) there is a huge pinewood and an ancient chestnut wood.
The area boasts excellent facilities for sports and free-time activities including a recently renovated theatre, a library that is in the process of being restored and extended, a discotheque, an indoor swimming pool, a gym, tennis courts and sports fields, a cross-country motorcycle track, campsites and a number of cycle paths along the Marecchia Valley.
Perticara Pro Loco Association, Via A. Oriani Perticara 0541 927267
Novafeltria Pro Loco Association, 69, Corso Mazzini, Novafeltria 0541 928563
Mining History Museum in PERTICARA
Sulphur has been mined in Perticara for at least 500 years. With great effort, man has pushed along the mineral’s seams, digging kilometres of tunnels into the rock to a depth of 740 metres. Historians believe that the Romans where the first to mine sulphur in this area but it wasn’t until 1917 that the Montecatini Company were granted permission to carry out mining research here and discovered the main seam of sulphur under Perticara, thus effectively founding the area’s great industry. Montecatini employed 1,600 men to build a huge underground city with almost 100 kilometres of tunnels on 9 different levels of exploitation. The rhythm of mining marked the lives of hundreds of men and women in the town and the hardship and uncertainties they suffered underground gave way to a jovial and carefree life on the surface. A number of bands, a philharmonic society, theatres, the cinema and the Carnival Society filled the free time of a community of 5,000 residents until the dramatic closure of the mine in 1964 due to the inclement laws of the marketplace.
Although it closed there was immediately a great desire to leave a reminder of the mining activity and this lead to the collection that is now housed in Perticara’s Mining History Museum. Over the years the museum, which opened in January 1970, has grown on sound scientific foundations and has become a benchmark for Italian industrial archaeology. The museum consists of a number of sections that introduce and summarize the main section on sulphur mining and processing. The tunnels, mining equipment, daily work tools and a vast collection of archive documents, drawings, photographs and film clips will appeal to the most diversified interests and studies. The museum also houses a remarkable collection of minerals that, along with a collection of fossils, highlight the museum’s educational importance. The offices of Certino Zulphur Stope have been restored and they will soon house the museum. Exhibit areas include sections on archaeology, mineralogy, petrology, geology and mining but there is also a section housing cartographic-cinematographic exhibits and one with scientific instruments, as well as a media library, archives and a study centre.
Museum - Via Decio Raggi and Certino Zulphur Stope, tel and fax 0541 927576
Opening times: 9-12 / 15-18 (closed Mondays and Fridays)