“Eight thousand years of mining”

©Parco Geominerario della Sardegna UNESCO Global Geopark, Italy

Celebrating Earth Heritage

Parco Geominerario della Sardegna UNESCO Global Geopark entails the entire island of Sardinia. Located into the center of the Western Mediterranean, Sardinia is located only 12 km from Corsica, 120 km from Tuscany, and 185 km from the coast of North Africa. It has no high mountain ranges but predominately mesas between 300 and 1,000 m high. Among the mountain ranges stands out the Gennargentu in the center of the Island, with its highest peak Punta La Marmora (1,834 m).

The Parco Geominerario della Sardegna UNESCO Global Geopark preserves a geological history dating back more than 500 million years, and shows the signs of an extraordinary variety of events that developed between Palaeozoic and Quaternary. This territory comprises sequences of sedimentary, metamorphic and magmatic rocks and an amazing variety of types of ore deposits which have been exploited over thousands of years.

The lithostratigraphic sequences are among the most complete ones of the European and Circum-Mediterranean area and document a geological history older than 500 million years. The stratigraphic successions of Sardinia preserved in an extraordinary way evidence of geological events, from when Sardinia joined to the bottom edge of the European plate and when it separated from it during the Oligocene-Miocene, as a result of the opening of the western Mediterranean (rifting phase and subsequent counter-clockwise rotation of the Sardinian-Corsican microplate). The geological history of Sardinia therefore is part of the geological history of western Europe and is totally different from that of the Italian peninsula. In the course of time, dynamic, physical and chemical processes led to the accumulation of ore deposits of different types and origins. They have been known for millennia and from abundance archaeological mining evidence we can reconstruct their history.

Thanks to the climate and geographical location, the area is rich in different environments and landscapes, characterized by Mediterranean vegetation and fauna rich in endemic races.

©Parco Geominerario della Sardegna UNESCO Global Geopark, Italy

Sustaining local Communities

The Parco Geominerario della Sardegna UNESCO Global Geopark covers 377 municipalities: 1,649 million inhabitants.

The Geopark is a vehicle for universal values and an instrument for protecting and pre-serving the local heritage, consisting of its geological context, technique and engineering, the industrial archaeology, the documentation of mine works and settlements, traditions, customs, knowledge and human events related to the mining activity. The territory of the Geopark can be subdivided into eight major areas based on their mining characteristics and history. The main reference is the chronological development of mining and quarrying activities telling the story of almost 8,000 years of mining exploitation.

The park also aims at conserving and enhancing the current realities of the various territories, to promote the economic, social and cultural progress of the local communities and protect their vast heritage, for future generations.

A network of trails allows discovering the UNESCO Global Geopark on foot, by bike or on horseback, makes it the ideal place for a sustainable and responsible tourism. The UNESCO Global Geopark is particularly engaged in promoting and spreading environmental awareness involving schools of various types and grades and several accredited Education Centers for Environment and Sustainability. Four different sites were awarded with the Eden Prize backed by the European Commission. EDEN is the acronym for European Destinations of Excellence, a project promoting sustainable tourism development models across the European Union, selected for their commitment to social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

Back to top