Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Italy: A Geothermal Hike

“Le Biancane” Nature Park in Monterotondo Marittimo (Around Tuscany)

“Le Biancane” Nature Park, south of Larderello in Tuscany, represents one of the many sites where geothermal activity have heavily modified the landscape. Here energy lies in the entrails of the earth and vapour emissions rise from the ground. Because of these geological and climatic characteristics, an atypical flora has developed in this area.

The name biancane comes from the white colour of the rocks that characterizes the entire landscape: the hydrogen sulphide emissions, in fact, erupt from geysers in the ground and turn the limestone into gypsum. The steam that comes out of the fractures of the rocks has a temperature of about 100°C and is constituted for 95% by water vapour; the hydrogen sulphide is the responsible for the characteristic smell of rotten eggs.

The town of Monterotondo Marittimo and Enel Green Power have decided to enhance this natural heritage by creating a path between the geothermal activity and the “historical-industrial” area exploited by man.

Visitors can explore the area on a short designated trail that begins a few metres from the town centre. The park can be visited free of charge all year-round and guided visits are organized throughout the year. For more info head to the tourist centre in Via del Poggiarello or visit the park’s official website (in Italian).