monterotondo-1Le Biancane

The Biancane Nature Park is located in Monterotondo Marittimo, in the territory of the Metalliferous Hills, in the upper Maremma of Grosseto.

This park is famous for its white rocks, hence the name “biancane”, generated by the emissions of hydrogen sulphide which react in contact with the limestone, transforming it into gypsum.
It is one of the most important geothermal parks in Tuscany.

The natural park

The biancane of Monterotondo Marittimo are included in the Archaeological Technological Park of the Metalliferous Hills of Grosseto.
It is a geothermal park located between the provinces of Grosseto and Pisa, a few minutes from Massa Marittima, near the town of Monterotondo Marittimo.
The park owes its name “biancane” to the presence of gypsum formations created by the reaction between the limestone rocks and the emissions of hydrogen sulphide.
Inside the park various geothermal events take place: soffioni, bulicami, mofete and putizze.
The steam that escapes from the rocks has a temperature of about 100 ° C and is composed of hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, boric acid, hydrogen and nitrogen.

The lakes :

Inside the Biancane Natural Park there are two lakes:

Lagone Cerchiaio, a lake of boric water already used by the Etruscans for therapeutic baths for the treatment of skin diseases, rheumatism, muscle, kidney and liver problems. In later times the lake was used for the first experiments for the extraction of boric acid by Uberto Francesco Hofer. The name “Cerchiaio” derives from the ancient tradition, begun in the Middle Ages, of using the warm waters of this lake for the curvature of the chestnut wood for the casks’ hoops.
Natural Lagone, located in the southern part of the natural park, it is a crater fed by thermal waters. The water has a very high temperature, between 100 and 150 ° C.

To visit the park, follow the path that starts from Lagone del Cerchiaio, here you can also see the old wash houses made of octagonal bricks from the Vecchienne furnace and dating back to the 1930s. On the right, a small road leads to the old Enel plant. You then continue for a little uphill tact and you begin to admire the first crystallizations of limestone, you arrive at the central square and from here you can see a characteristic terrace where water flows from the Chiorba spring, once used for the deposit of encrusting agents. The path continues in good health between fumaroles and putizze, a surreal and suggestive panorama! Below you can see a Lagone that over the centuries has created a large crater covered with gray earth.
Continuing you meet the fumaroles, here the steam comes out between the cracks in the stones, many different colors from intense red to ocher yellow to blinding white, boiling water with dense vapors, the hum of the waters that come out of the ground and finally the vegetation that in the years it has adapted to the conditions, distorting its nature. Among the autochthonous species of this territory, the heather and the cork, both of the acidophilic family.

The geothermal wells:

Inside the Natural Park of the Biancane di Monterotondo Marittimo there are numerous geothermal wells used to channel the high enthalpy steam. The steam is conveyed in the direction of the production of electricity.
In Monterotondo Marittimo the energy production from geothermal sources began in 1916, in 1918 the first production plant was built in 1918 near Lake Boracifero. The current ENEL plant dates back to 1958. The power plants located in the municipal area of Monterotondo Marittimo cover 70% of the energy needs of the province of Grosseto.