About ten kilometres north of Piazza Armerina, the mining park is one of many picturesque places in the Sicilian hinterland and well worth a visit. The dozens of dirt roads that branch off into the protected territory can be travelled on foot, on horseback or by bicycle, and make it possible to visit the remains of the vast area.
There are four hundred hectares of green lung where, until half a century ago, two of the largest sulphur mines on the island were in operation. The mine began activity in the early 19th century, with intense production from the start. When the patent for the manufacture of soda ash was approved in 1791, Sicilian sulphur experienced huge international demand.
The Mining Park Authority for the protection and conservation of the Floristella Grottacalda area was established by regional law in 1991. Its purposes included the acquisition and restoration of Palazzo Pennisi, built around the beginning of the 19th century by Baron Pennisi of Acireale as his family's summer residence. Today, the building is home to the mine administration.
Due to the numerous industrial archaeology finds, which are difficult for non-experts to interpret, it is advisable to schedule a guided tour by contacting the park in advance.