The path of the Murlo mining railroad.
The educational trail traces the first part of the route of the railroad serving the Mines of Murlo. The railway came into operation in 1877 to transport the lignite and lime produced here to the Grosseto coast and the markets of northern Italy, in the belief that only a fast means such as the railroad could compete with the great distances that separated Murlo from the main centers of commerce. Its construction, with standard-gauge tracks (143.5 cm), was due to the Società Anonima della Miniera Carbonifera di Murlo, which initially managed the mining operation (1872-1876); at this stage the railway reached as far as the Volta al Salcio near Monte Antico, where it joined the Siena-Monte Amiata-Grosseto national railway. Then followed in mining management the Compagnie Française des Charbonnages de Pienza (1876- 1885) and the Société Générale pour l'Industrie des Lignites Italiens (1886-1894), after which the mine remained stationary for about 25 years, until the arrival of the SAI-Ansaldo Company in 1918, which rearmed the disused railway with narrow-gauge tracks (95 cm), which were cheaper and sufficient for the small locomotives used. Ansaldo ceased operations in 1922 at the time when the final section of the mining railway (from La Befa to Monte Antico) was expropriated for the construction of the Siena-Buonconvento- Monte Antico railway, which opened in 1927. A new management of the Mines of Murlo reappeared only in 1940 with the Società Miniere Carbonifere di Murlo, which rebuilt the railway with narrow-gauge "Decauville"-type tracks (60 cm), which were even cheaper and quicker and easier to lay, as far as La Befa, where a depot was built from which the lignite was loaded onto trains on the new line to Grosseto. In 1944 damage by German spoilers on the railway line to Grosseto made it unusable for the Murlo mines, which shortly thereafter ceased operations again. Finally, from 1951 to 1968, management was transferred to the Società Calce, Cementi, Carboni e Laterizi di Murlo, which in fact, however, would not carry on any kind of activity.
Length: 7 km Walking time: 1 hour and 40 minutes Total elevation gain: -188 mDifficulty: easy trail, completely downhill to La Befa Train Station. It is necessary to equip oneself with hiking shoes or boots and a supply of water.The trail is passable on foot, by bicycle and on horseback; the last section from Molino della Befa to the train station is open to motorized traffic but with little traffic.For the return from the same trail, a total elevation gain of 188 m uphill, and about 2 hours of walking should be taken into account.
Length: about 7 km starting from Murlo, about 5.5 km starting from Miniere di Murlo. The return can be done by the same route as the outward or by arranging with two cars (one at La Befa and one at Murlo/Miniere di Murlo) or by train (station "Murlo" in loc. La Befa).
Travel time: just under 2 hours from Murlo; about 1 hour and a quarter from Miniere (similar time for return).
Total elevation gain: 130 m downhill for those starting from Murlo; 110 m downhill for those starting from Miniere. As much uphill for those starting from La Befa.
Difficulty: easy trail, still necessary to equip oneself with hiking shoes or boots and water.
Insights in Italian
The ring path of Poggio Civitate
FROM THE MUSEUM OF MURLO TO POGGIO CIVITATE
Since the summer of 2017, the Etruscan Museum of Murlo has been enriched with a natural "extension" towards the excavations of Poggio Civitate: it is a loop trail just under 5 km long that starts and returns to Murlo, passing through Poggio Aguzzo and Poggio Civitate (Poggio alle Cataste in modern cartography). It thus makes it possible to visit, with an hour and a half's walk, the discovery sites of the necropolis and the aristocratic palace of the noble Etruscan family of Murlo, whose artifacts are kept in the Museum. The trail was created by the Museum and the Municipality of Murlo, thanks to municipal and regional funds as part of the Blu Etrusco festival and Etruscan Day, with the collaboration of the Murlo Cultural Association and the Pro Loco of Murlo.
The Museum of Murlo, an uncommon condition for archaeological museums, is one of the few "museums with a view," that is, from which the area of origin of the artifacts put on display is visible; in fact, from the last exhibition room of the Museum, a beautiful panorama allows the eye to embrace the long hill of Poggio Civitate-Poggio Aguzzo, with its flat top, which the Etruscans of Murlo chose for the construction of their palace and for the burial of their dead, between the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.
In addition to the "view" from the Museum, those who wish can then touch the area of the archaeological excavations and, starting from Murlo (perhaps after a suitable "preparatory visit" to the Museum), can walk up the hill of Poggio Aguzzo and Poggio Civitate to the archaeological area which, since 1966, has been growing steadily thanks to annual excavation campaigns; the latest, this summer, directed by Anthony Tuck of Massachusetts University Amherst.
Since the archaeological remains are not easily readable and many of the investigated areas are covered over at the end of the annual campaigns for safety reasons, the route is accompanied by a series of information panels (indicated with red squares on the map) that help in reading the landscape and provide an illustrated reconstruction of the buildings that, from the 7th to 6th centuries B.C., occupied the summit of Poggio Civitate.
Attached: a map illustrates the new trail and shows the location of the information panels (red squares).
Length: approximately 4.5 km.
Walking time: 1.5 hours.
Total elevation gain in ascent: 124 meters.
Difficulty: easy trail, but with an uphill section to reach the excavations. It is necessary to equip yourself with hiking shoes or boots and water.