Nature and history in the Tuscan Maremma: the Montioni Park

The park of Montioni , which is located near Follonica covers 4,494 hectares in the province of Livorno and 1,990 hectares in the province of Grosseto. The forests are mainly composed of turkey oak and holm oak trees. In the wetter areas there are also patches of riparian forest consisting of plants belonging to more than one species. The fauna, on the other hand, is that which tends to frequent the Maremma maquis forests. The current appearance of Montioni Park is the result of a very long period of intense exploitation of the forest that covered and covers this high ground. Exploitation that after 1960 a gave way to a phase of abandonment. After this date, in fact, the wooded areas did not undergo further forms of exploitation, except those related to civic uses.

Geologically, Montioni was known in the past for the abundant presence of alum in the subsoil. A mineral widely used in dye works and for tanning leather. Pope Sixtus IV (1414 - 1484) who owned the monopoly of the only source known at the time (the Tolfa Mountains in Lazio) tried to grab the deposits that were exploited until the last century. Even today walking through the park it is still possible to observe some of the cavities in the rock left by the quarrymen after the complete extraction of theAlum.

The oldest reference to Montioni we find in written documentation to 783 (AD), while to have news of a first permanent settlement in this territory we have to wait until 1038, the year in which a document was notarized in which reference was indirectly made to a castle located precisely in Montioni. However, the place indicated in the document is not to be identified with the present village of Montioni, which arose at the behest of Elisa Baciocchi, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. The castle coincides with the ruins of the tower located on the rise called Montioni Vecchio or Montionaccio.

Montioni Park, which is located near Follonica, is part of the Val di Cornia Parks and covers about 6,000 hectares from Livorno to Grosseto
Montioni Park, which is located near Follonica, is part of the Val di Cornia Parks and covers about 6,000 hectares from Livorno to Grosseto

Route number 8, about one kilometer from the Bezzuga house, intersects with route 9, which leads directly to the Pievaccia ruins. From the above intersection, the structure in question is about one kilometer and three hundred meters away.

An excerpt from the historical cadastre compiled in the 19th century. Note the extent of the alum quarry known as the Saracen quarry located very few meters from the village of Montioni.

Montioni Park, which is located near Follonica, is part of the Val di Cornia Parks and covers about 6,000 hectares from Livorno to Grosseto
Montioni Park, which is located near Follonica, is part of the Val di Cornia Parks and covers about 6,000 hectares from Livorno to Grosseto

One of the alum quarries located within Montioni Park. The empty spaces in the rock were once occupied by alunite deposits.

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