Miniera di Zolfo Cabernardi

Useful Information

Location: Cabernardi.
(43.506876, 12.866137)
Open: Museo della Miniera di Zolfo:
APR to JUL Sat 16-19, Sun, Hol 10-13, 16-19.
AUG Mon-Sat 16-19, Sun, Hol 10-13, 16-19.
SEP to OCT Sat 16-19, Sun, Hol 10-13, 16-19.
NOV to MAR Sat 15-18, Sun, Hol 10-13, 15-18.
Parco Archeominerario di Cabernardi:
APR to JUL Sat 16:30, 18, Sun, Hol 11, 16:30, 18.
AUG Mon-Sat 16:30, 18, Sun, Hol 11, 16:30, 18.
SEP to OCT Sat 16:30, 18, Sun, Hol 11, 16:30, 18.
NOV to MAR Sat 16, Sun, Hol 11, 16.
Fee: Museo della Miniera di Zolfo:
Adults EUR 3, Children EUR 2.
Parco Archeominerario di Cabernardi:
Adults EUR 3, Children EUR 2.
Adults EUR 5, Children EUR 4.
Classification: MineSulfur Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Miniera di Zolfo Cabernardi, Comune Sassoferrato, Tel: +39-07329-56257, Tel: +39-33373-01732, Tel: +39-33373-00890. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


09-JUL-1877 discovery and transferability of a sulfur deposit in the Percozzone area declared.
06-JUN-1878 concession for mining given to a company owned by Francesco Armando Buhl, Eugenio Buhl, and Andrea Federico Deinhard.
1899 purchased by the Trezza-Albani company.
1917 mine sold to the Montecatini company.
06-MAY-1952 company report states depletion of the sulfur.
28-MAY-1952 strike by the union and occupation of the mine.
05-MAY-1959 mine closed.
1983 local volunteers start to collect remains from the mining.
1992 official inauguration of the Museum.
1997 Associazione Culturale "LA MINIERA" Onlus founded.
1999 museum moved to the former middle school of Cabernardi.
2000 model of the mine added.
05-JUL-2015 Parco archeominerario Cabernardi opened to the public.


The sulfur deposit was formed in the Miocene, about seven million years ago. Due to the lowering of the sea level, the deposition chalk began in a shallow sea. The high amount of sulfur is a result of hot volcanic springs. After the deposition and diagenesis the layer was moved by tectonic movements and is today almost vertical.


Miniera di Zolfo Cabernardi (Cabernardi Sulfur Mine) is a sulfur mine in the village Cabernardi. The village was founded in 1826, which is pretty young for Italy.

The town Cabernardi was founded by four brothers. The town was named after the eldest who was named Bernardo: Ca-bernardi. The three quarters of the town were named after the other brothers Crociano, Massimo and Martino.

The sulfur was discovered almost 50 years later, and mining started in 1878.

A farmer was trying to water his animals in a pool of water, but they were not drinking. He checked the water and smelled a fouls stink. He told his discovery to the parish priest, who immediately called an expert. When the expert determined that there was a layer of sulfur, the farmer started mining on his farm.

At the beginning the mining was administrated by the German Buhl-Deinhard family. At this time about 200 miners were working at the mine. When the Società Miniere Solfare Trezza and Albani purchased the mine in 1899 they increased production but also the number of miners. In 1904 300 miners worked at the mine.

In 1917 the mine was sold to the Montecatini Società Generale per l'Industria Mineraria (Montecatini General Society for Mining Industry). They began a massive modernization of the mining with the sinking of two shafts and the installation of steam winches. But the main improved for the working conditions was the introduction of a ventilation system. They also increased the number of miners again, in 1920 the number of miners reached a new record of 840. But they also reduced the wages of the miners, by a reduction in the so-called dear-living allowance. So in 1921 the mine saw it's first strikes, which continued until 1922.

The mine was the basement of the economy of a large area, from Sassoferrato to Arcevia to Pergola. The mining had provided a steady income for the locals for eighty years. In the early months of 1952, the workforce was about 1,400 workers with an average production of 870 tonnes of sulfur per day. But the sulfur was almost depleted, and the company's report suggested a reduction in production and in employees. They were planning a reduction to 400-500 tonnes per day and 665 to 817 miners. In the best case this would create 600 unemployed miners, in the worst 750, more than half of the workforce. As a result there were strikes by the union against the closure and the dismissal of miners. On 28-MAY-1952 the mine was occupied by 200 miners who stayed at a depth of five hundred meters for forty days, when they got out they were all fired. All protests were fruitless, the mine was closed on 05-MAY-1959, seven years later, one hundred workers were retired, three hundred were transferred, a few stayed to shut down the mine, and the rest was dismissed. Many miners were looking for jobs abroad and so many migrated to Belgium.

It seems the closure of the mine was such a shock, the people tried to forget about it. In 1983 the locals began to wonder about their mining past, and they planned a celebration on Saint Barbara's day. She is the patron saint of the miners and her day, the 4th of December, had not been celebrated after the closure of the mine. Now they asked the old people, if they had images and objects related to the mine. First a photographic exhibition was set up, which was open to the public only during summer. Then finally in 1992 the museum was officially inaugurated. In 1997, the Associazione Culturale "LA MINIERA" Onlus was founded for the operation of the museum. In 1999, it was relocated to the former middle school of Cabernardi, where it is located until today.

The exhibition contains tools, material for mineral extraction, gas masks, safety helmets, pneumatic drills, lamps, and blueprints. There is also a model of the mine. The mineral collection shows the sulphur, the resource of the mine, in its natural form, as rock or minerals, and the 50 kg slabs which were produced by the furnaces. The mineral collection also contains many other minerals like pyrite, aragonite, copper, fluorite, and quartz. They were donated by former miners from Cabernardi, who then worked at other mines and brought those minerals back from their new working places.

The next step was the creation of the Parco archeominerario Cabernardi (Cabernardi Archaeomineral Park), which is located at the southwestern end of town, were the mine originally was located. It is a sort of open air museum of the remains of the sulfur mine. There was a lot of renovation to do, and so the park was started in 2001 and finally inaugurated on 05-JUL-2015. There are the remains of the "Donegani" shaft, which was used to transport the miners in and out. There is the thermal power plant and the calcaroni, which were ovens to separate the sulfur from the chalk. They were heated until the sulfur became liquid and was flowing out. The gill furnaces were the next step, the successor of the calcaroni. Two levels of the mine were connected by an piano inclinato (inclined plane) which was used to pull wagons loaded with sulfur up. Such a plane was restored in all details. The former diesel depot, a circular basement structure, is now used as an auditorium and a multi-purpose hall for conferences and meetings. The park is part of the Parco Nazionale delle zolfo di Marche e Romagna (National Sulphur Park of Marche and Romagna).

The sulfur is part of the chalk, and it is necessary to separate them. Sulfur must be heated to 120 °C, then it becomes liquid. Originally the calcaroni (limestone method) was used. The sulfur bearing rock was mixed with limestone and filled into an inclined conical furnace. The sulfur was set on fire and the content was thus heated by burning a part of the sulfur. It took some time (one or two days) until the sulfur reached the 120 °C and started to flow out. At one point the old furnaces were replaced by gill furnaces. They used the same principle, but they had two furnaces, one for the fire and the other for the melting, the hot gases were passed through from the first to the second. One problem was the loss of sulfur, but the main problem was the SO2 which was produced by the oxidation. With rain water it formed sulfuric acid and the whole area became a wasteland. The mine had to reimburse the damaged farmers.