The silver veins stopped giving, mining came to a halt and silence fell in Sardinia’s mines. The network of paths that intertwine through tunnels, washeries, workshops and workers’ villages is now shrouded by the surreal atmosphere of abandoned places. At the time, donkeys and carts loaded with minerals travelled along them; today they are biking and trekking itineraries that retrace the abandoned silver roads.
Silver fever also reached the Sarrabus elevations. In order to connect tunnels, workshops and lodgings, a 47-kilometre ring road was opened in the woods, made up of mule tracks and river fords, facilitating the most difficult passages. Coming from San Vito by car, you will come across this itinerary that crosses the disused mines. Here, the silence is broken by the sound of the little waterfalls and natural pools that, at the time, were considered obstacles for the transporting of precious materials from the mountains to the loading area on the beaches of Costa Rei. Today they are cool oases between one stage of the trek and another.
Coal is no longer mined from the Sulcis coal mine. Even silver was soon abandoned and the path of the ancient silver mines of Gonnesa still remains. Four kilometres, little more than a walk in the heart of the geo-mining park of Sardinia, an immense patrimony of industrial archaeology, mines and abandoned villages. In this geological and environmental context, unrepeatable elsewhere, the trekking trails unfold, leading from the mines to the sea.
Along the road between Alghero and Stintino there is an extraordinary place that plays hide and seek in the midst of the most popular treasures in Sardinia. It is the Argentiera, a mining village, forgotten but fatefully intact, a few steps from the water. Paths to the coves start from here and some run up the mountain, where people used to dig to extract silver. Its sparkle has remained everywhere, reflected on the water and the sand, deposited on the rocks of the promontories that protect the inlet and on the trekking trails that run through it.