“In 2017, Tuscany’s geothermal areas were visited by over 120,000 people. Of these, more than 60,000 were actual geothermal tourists.”
The Heat of the Earth
“Geothermal tourists” are schoolchildren, organised groups from Italy and abroad and local residents, all curious about this context – the geothermal industry – deeply rooted in the territory for two centuries now.
Enel Green Power’s Larderello Geothermal Plant was the first in the world to use the heat of the earth to produce green and renewable energy. Today, it’s the centre of a vast complex with a museum and many parks and nature trails.
“Geothermal tourism is now an important part of the Tuscan geothermal district: an achievement made possible by a collaboration between Enel Green Power, Co.Svi.G., the Region of Tuscany, City Administrations, the Community of Food from Renewable Energy, The Energy Museum of the territory of Radicondoli, the Visitors Centre of the Biancane Park in Monterotondo Marittimo, Pro Loco, Associations and Tourist Offices for the traditional geothermal territories and Amiata.”
At the Roots of Energy
During 2017, the Larderello Geothermal Museum, in the town of Pomarance (Pisa), was the attraction most appreciated by “geothermal tourists”, with more than 27,000 total visits.
“ The permanent exhibition at the Geothermal Museum tells the story of the origins and development and of the geothermal industry since 1818, the year when Count Francesco De Larderel started to use the heat of the earth for industrial purposes.”
Since 2017, the museum’s collection has been expanded and it’s now possible to visit a new wing with 12 new rooms located in the Count’s residence. The new rooms, added to the previous interactive itinerary, hold a library, a photographic archive and an exploration of the history of Larderello, a town founded and developed because of De Larderel’s ideas.
Nature and Industry
Along with the history of the Tuscan geothermal industry, tourists can admire the wonders of nature, like the Biancane Park (in the town of Monterotondo Marittimo), which welcomed 17,000 visitors among its characteristic rocks, made white by vapour, in 2017.
There were about 6,000 visitors at the Fumarole Park in Sasso Pisano (Castelnuovo Val di Cecina), in San Federigo, with its geysers, and trekking trails among the fumaroles and biancane.
Also popular with visitors was the 700-metre trail around the plants of Bagnore 3 and Bagnore 4, which allows visitors to see the plants up close and understand their functions, thanks to informational panels and rest areas.
“The Bagnore 4 plant was opened in 2014 and has an installed capacity of 40 MW, able to generate 310 million kWh each year, saving the equivalent of 70,000 tonnes of oil.”
A huge help for geothermal tourism came from events part of Open Plants 2017, which allowed 10,000 people, from townspeople to tourists, to visit the Chiusdino geothermal plant, in the province of Siena.
“Everyone worked hard on the promotion and planning of tourist itineraries, making the geothermal areas a point of reference for national and international tourism.”
The expansion of the tourist options throughout the district was made possible by teamwork between Enel Green Power and local institutions, who have once again demonstrated their commitment to endorsing the geothermal industry for the territory.