For mountain lovers there is nothing more beautiful than the conquest of a peak or climbing a wall. But what's inside and underneath the mountains? In the Isarco Valley, in South Tyrol, you can discover the world of the stones, walking along old silver mines and visiting the most important museums of mineralogy.
The Valley, which extends for 80 kilometers from the border with Brenner through the territories of Sterzing, Brixen and Klausen, is a sampling of geological emblematic aspects for understanding the evolution of the Alps. Thus, besides the most classical hiking, you can alternate visits and tours to discover the underground.
In Val Ridanna, you can immerse yourself in the world of Monteneve Mines (sixty years ago it was the highest mine of Europe) thanks to a varied program of guided tours. Some of these tours include the use of wagons that used to carry miners and stones, a truly unique experience. Do not miss the Miners Chapel in St. Magdalene of Gasse.
Mining activity also involved Villandro, further south. Also here, the signs of old mining are evident, so a group of volunteers decided to exploit the mine, recovering abandoned paths. Today you can visit the many galleries in the various itineraries that from Chiusa connect with the Miners Chapel of St. Anna (8.6 km in length and a difference in height of 830 meters).
Another attraction for mineralogy lovers, always in the Isarco Valley, is Val di Funes. Here, in the small village of Tiso, there is the Mineralogical Museum, with the exhibition of Geodes of Tiso and other minerals from various Alpine regions. Geodes are singular spherical formations of rock within them they often preserve beautiful crystals and they took their 'official' name from this town in the Isarco Valley. Once the geodes were in the 'Gostnergraben' gorge, today they are much rarer and is not allowed to collect them so some guided tours in search of geodes are organized with the greatest expert: Paul Fischnaller (founder of the Mineralogical Museum).
Mineral stones also means wellness. Recent studies have shown that rocks, stones and crystals can transmit positive vibes. The silver quartzite of Val di Vizze was thus rediscovered by the joint work of experts in mineralogy and experts of traditional holistic practices, so in some hotels in Sterzing and surroundings are proposed treatments using local quartzite. The 'vibrations' of the quartz, the scent of larch resin, the wild alpine herbs oil and the relaxing warmth of the primordial stones lead to a state of perfect relaxation. The ritual of cleansing of the silver quartzite instead activates metabolism and releases the meridians and the energy centers from everyday stress.
CONSORZIO TURISTICO VALLE ISARCO (047-2802232): www.valleisarco.com