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3. Mining itinerary: “Ciaula discovers the Moon” en it

This itinerary is named after the tale written in 1907 by novelist and play writer Luigi Pirandello, from his collection  Short Stories for a Year.

But who is Ciaula? Ciaula is a “Caruso”, that is a very young miner’s helper. The story says that he had always lived in the mine; one night coming out of the mine he saw the moon shining in the sky. He was so amazed by the sight that he burst into tears.

This novel, through which Pirandello narrates the roughness of the miners’ life and their exploitation, encapsulates the tragic nature of mine work.

Sulphur mining was conducted in this area from the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth. It made Caltanissetta the worldwide capital in this field, so much so that is was known as “the cathedral of the mines”.

The most famous mines are that of Trabonella, Trabia Tallarita, Cozzo Disi and Floristella Grottacalda; some of them can be visited today. 
This proto-industrial activity in Caltanissetta played a very important role in the development of trade-unionist awareness and the subsequent establishment of unions. Moreover, the wealth that came from this industry led to the foundation of the first football team in Caltanissetta, which was financed by miners.

This itinerary will guide you in the discovery of the mines’ world through the towns that made its history: Caltanissetta, San Cataldo, Montedoro, Sommatino and Riesi.

Translated from the original Italian by Agnese Tomasella, MLitt in Museum Studies and Museum consultant for Rete Museale Culturale e Ambientale  del Centro Sicilia (The Central Sicily Museums, Culture and Nature Network)

This audio guide is part of the project Sicilia Beni Culturali for izi.TRAVEL coordinated by Elisa Bonacini, University of Catania


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