Abbadia San Salvatore

A medieval town and its mines

This small town was founded on a legend: the story goes that a Longobard king built a church here following a divine vision, with the town slowly growing around it. The king in question was King Rachis, the year was 743 AD, and the church was the modern-day Abbazia di San Salvatore.

With its centuries of history, the abbey itself represents the heart of the town. For many years the abbey was home to the world’s oldest Latin religious manuscript, known as the Amiatina Bible. Next to the church is a beautiful crypt with unknown origins, a mysterious place with 32 individual columns- each one different from the next.

This medieval town owes its fortune to the Via Francigena pilgrims’ way, and to the discovery of cinnabar deposits – the mineral from which mercury is extracted.

Mineral extraction transformed Abbadia into a mining town and made it the area’s economic heart, leading to growth and expansion. After the mine closed, the whole area was transformed into the Parco Museo Minerario. This museum centre explains the history of mining in Abbadia, with immersive exhibits and the chance to take a guided tour of an underground tunnel.