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agriturismi e tipicità
                 La Valle del Diavolo



Just a few kilometres from Pomarance lies the geothermal
area of the hot steam jets and fumaroles. This subterranean
energy which emerges to the surface as white columns of
steam, is exploited to generate electrical power.


A Frenchman Francesco Larderel was the first to use the energy produced by the fumaroles to extract boric
acid from the boric waters present in the geothermal area between Montecerboli, Castelnuovo,
Monterotondo, Lustignano and Serrazzano.
In 1846 the Grand duke Leopoldo II named the industrial village Larderello in honour of the work carried out by De Larderel. On the fourth of July 1904 prince Ginori carried out an experiment and lit up five light bulbs with the
energy produced by a piston engine fed by geothermal steam.
The first steam generated electric power plant in the world was subsequently founded. Today, the Devil’s valley landscape, where the industrial village of Larderello lies, pulses with a complex network of pipes which feed the electric power plants.
The steam which comes to the surface at atmospheric pressure of 10-15 and a temperature of 150-260° C is piped and conveyed to the turbines.
Once the steam has been exploited for the production of electricity it is conveyed from the turbines to a low level
condenser where it is cooled down. The water produced from the vapour is then injected to a depth 3000 metres rifilling the geothermal basin and in contact with the magma mass of volcanic origin, new steam is created.

Proceeding along the SS 439 in the direction of Massa Marittima you will come across the fortified village of
Montecerboli on a hill dominating the Devil's Valley. There you can visit the churches of Saint Cerbone and la
Compagnia della Carità, Umberto Rossi's house (a private museum) and the old oil mill. Crossing the bridge over the Possera river you will reach the Enel geothermal museum which tells the story of the development of geothermal energy from 1818 to the present day: It is also possible to visit the old workshops, the church and watch the opening of a steam jet at Farinello.


Leaving the village of Larderello and the church designed by Giovanni Michelucci (1956) take the SS 439 towards Castelnuovo Val di Cecina.


Past the medieval village and the church of SS. Salvatore proceed through the chestnut woods in the area of
Campo Murato and the road opens out to a magnificent view over the valleys of the Pavone river and the Cornate
mountains. Turn right for Sasso Pisano, a medieval village distinguished by the presence of the lagoons, sulphurous exhalations, hot water, fumaroles and the sulphur mines. Continuing along the provincial road towards the Leccia, turn off the podere Bagnone to admire the natural hot water spring and the remains of the Etruscan Baths: Aquae Populoniae.


Proceed to the Leccia, a castle built high on a hill and the birthplace of the famous artist Matteo Godi from Leccia: the San Bartolomeo church and the Sanctuary of the Madonna is worth a visit.


Follow the Leccia provincial road until you come to the SS 329: turn left and within a few kilometres you will reach
Serrazzano, a castle of Longobard origin and the 14th century S. Donato church. In August a feast of local
produce takes place under the chestnut trees. Proceed on to Lustignano, a medieval village on the slopes
of the river Cornia. The church is dedicated to San Martino.
In August the feast of Poggiolo takes place where you can savour the specialities of the local cuisine. And then
finally to the Lagoni Rossi and more geothermal phenomena such as fumaroles, sulphur mines, steam jets and gurgling pools of sulphurous mud.

testi Jader Spinelli
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