Val Toppa Ecomuseum

Pieve Vergonte
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How to get

By train: Pieve Vergonte station, Ferrovie dello Stato. Timetables:
By car: Motorway A26 Genova Voltri – Gravellona Toce; follow the road SS 33 Gravellona Toce – Sempione, exit Pieve Vergonte.


Val Toppa is the valley of the stream Marmazza, river on which rises Pieve Vergonte. The discovery of significant gold veins, exploited since ancient times, led to the opening of several mines featuring the history and economy of the territory. Gold, also present in the native state, which is rare for mines Ossola, was extracted as auriferous quartz with pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite.

The history of exploitation is very articulated.  The earliest records testify the presence of galleries in the sixteenth century. The industrial exploitation of the mining system began in the second half of the nineteenth century from the “The Pestarena Gold Mining Co. Ltd” (1860-1894), and then by the company “Fratelli Ceretti” of Villadossola, and from the French company “Miniere di Cropino”. The concessions were then taken over by the company Rumianca in 1935. The permanent abandonment occurred in 1947. During the work of  “The Pestarena Gold Mining Co. Ltd”, the mine galleries of  Val Toppa (which is also part the visitable gallery) reached an overall development of 11 kilometers.

After a long abandonment the town of Pieve Vergonte began a process of recovery and enhancement creating the Ecomuseum of Val Toppa, with a visit itinerary that allows you to access in safety a stretch of the mine, the gallery “Level 2” at the Alpe Fontan. It has also been set up the Mining Museum in Pieve Vergonte.

The “Ca’ bianca”, at the l’Alpe Fontan (800 m), structure of the Ecomuseum recently renovated, offers an indoor place for lunch, for an overnight stay or for educational activities. From here you can reach the nearby entrance of the mine to visit a part of it properly equipped.

More details

Calendar - Timetables    Mine: every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 16:00 (Check by phone)

Time for visit    An hour's visit to the mine (excluding travel time for access paths)

Accessibility    Access to the mine involves walking through mountain trails