A long history to be shared and to be discovered. Exploited in Antiquity, rediscovered in the mid-19th century and passing through various concessionary companies until the end of the 20th century, the Sos Enattos mine – the last Nuorese metal basin to cease operation (in 1996) – is now a ‘jewel’ of industrial archaeology and part of the Geominerario della Sardegna park, protected by UNESCO. With wells, washeries and other structures that are in a perfect state of conservation and which can be visited, the mine is immersed within the beautiful landscape, mostly untouched, of the ‘dolomitic’ chain of Mount Albo. Set amidst the woods of badgers, holm oaks, junipers and Mediterranean bush, it is the habitat of mouflon and royal eagles. Sos Enattos is part of a vast mining complex within the Lula territory, which includes two other nearby mines of galena and silver – Guzzurra and Argentaria – with the respective miners’ villages. Originally, the minerals were transported via ox carts to the Santa Lucia beach in Siniscola, then loaded onto ships.
The first signs of exploitation of the area date back to the recent Neolithic period, when the talc ‘steatite’ was extracted then worked to create artistic objects, including statues of the Mother Goddess. From the Roman era are wells and tunnels, from which those condemned to work in Metalla extracted lead and silver. The remains of the settlement were kept intact until 1960. Another ancient footprint is that of Jewish slaves of the 11th century who worked in the mines on behalf of a wealthy landowner, Nabat. As of the 19th century, excavations focused on lead-zinciferous vein and argentiferous galena, then also on sphalerite, in which the territory was very rich. The first turning point of the mine was its passing to the Societé Anonyme des Mines de Malfidano (1905). Its greatest moment of splendour came upon being taken over by the Rimisa (1951) that took the level of production to historical heights, thanks to the modernisation of old tunnels and the construction of a dam, a new washery, warehouses, a workshop, electric cabin, offices, plus housing and services for workers. In 1971, the Rolandi well was completed and the property passed to the Sardinian mining company, which tried to improve production and yields. Then came the decline, amidst strikes of the miners, who set a precedence with one of the first worker protests in Italy, as early as 1896.
Near the mine, this is also the Sanctuary of Saint Francis of Assisi, which remained dear to miners and their families. The church, built in 1795 and made famous by the Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda in her novels, is a pilgrimage destination for the entire island during the festivals in early May and early October. The faithful are offered on filindeu, a pasta made of super-fine strands dipped in mutton and cheese broth, one of Lula’s attractions.