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CAPOLIVERI - Mining Museum
The Museum of Elban Minerals, opened in July 2002 in the historic centre of Capoliveri, moved to premises on the main road at Mola in summer 2009. It is the island's largest collection of minerals, the "Alfeo Ricci" collection, built up by the self-taught enthusiast of the same name who up until the 1960s gathered specimens of considerable beauty from all over the island, and especially from the eastern side where the iron mines were located.
Born at Rio Marina in 1924, from childhood Alfeo Ricci dedicated his life to his great love of minerals, which he began to collect all over Elba. After his early death the entire collection passed into the hands of his nephew Gianfranco, who continued to expand the collection, which was open to the public for about 11 years, first in Alfeo's own home at Rio Marina and then at Rio nell'Elba, before moving to its current home in the "Alfeo Ricci" Museum of Elban Minerals.
The Museum contains more than 800 pieces, arranged in sixteen wall-mounted display cases and ten cubic cabinets containing the largest pieces. It includes minerals not only from Rio Marina and the Calamita mine, but also from Monte Capanne, Patresi, Biodola, and Portoferraio. Each sample has its own label, coloured yellow for the items of greatest value or scientific interest.
The three cabinets housing all the forms of pyrites, all from the Rio Marina mines, are particularly impressive. They include pentadodecahedral seeded crystals and many examples of the distinctive "iron cross" seeding, while a separate section is reserved for this iron ore's crystallographic forms. In the upper section, the exhibition is completed by a series of panels with drawings of the ore's crystalline structure by Alfeo Ricci himself.
The display cabinets contain minerals with different compositions, most notably erythrite, from the Vallone (Calamita) mine, silicates, ilvaite, quartz crystals, copper silicates, oxides, limonite stalactites (a rare variety), polarised magnetite, fluorite, blue aragonite, rosette-shaped calcite with epitode (a pseudohexagonal crystallisation, with overlapping herringbone crystals, discovered about forty years ago in the Ginepro mine) and the goethite geode. This final piece concludes the large geode at the entrance to the exhibition.
The items displayed in the cubic display cabinets include specimens of calcite stalactites, hematite, pyrites, an unusual cuprite specimen and red ochre, as well as the goethite geode already mentioned.
The exhibition is completed by explanatory panels and antique and contemporary geological and geographical maps to aid in identifying the minerals' origins and help visitors to interpret Elba's geology. To conclude, a portrait of Alfeo Ricci with a biography.
Via Roma, 93 - 57031 Capoliveri (LI)
Tel. +39 0565 935482