In Petralia Soprana, discover the world-renowned Sicilian salt
Two thousand years ago it was as expensive as gold. Today it is still mined and extracted in a white dust and shipped all over the world as pure Sicilian rock salt.
In visiting the mine, guests are quietly transported back in time to the moment of discovery of salt and its ancient secrets. The mine is eight levels deep, dug down seemingly to the centre of the earth, providing over 80km of salt tunnels. Together these make up the Italkali Salt Mines of Raffo (part of the Petralia Soprana municipality), located on the Madonie mountain range.
This amazing geological site was formed more than five million years ago due to the Mediterranean Sea drying up.
Two thousand years ago it was as expensive as gold. Today it is still mined and extracted in a white dust and shipped all over the world as pure Sicilian rock salt. It was so valuable it was even used as an exchange currency in which the Roman soldiers were paid (this is where the word “salary” comes from).
But what surprises the visitors is what’s inside (with the permission of Italkali company): the Museo di Arte Contemporanea Sotto Sale, or MACSS, which, with its sculptures of rock salt, is the only museum inside a working mine in the world.
A charming path shaped by light and shadows allows visitors to admire thirty masterpieces created by artists of international fame, formed from blocks of rock salt, that are quite simply breathtaking. Among the sculptors who appeared in the last biennial (in 2017) are artists such as Patrick Tatcheda from Cameroon, Philippe Berson from France, Juan Esperanza from Mexico, Giuseppe Agnello, Domenico Pellegrino, Giacomo Rizzo, and Nicola Busacca from Sicily, as well as Michele Soddu from Milan. A guided tour lasts about an hour and will give you the opportunity to discover the geological history of Sicily, enriched by contemporary artistic masterpieces.
The museum can only be visited on Saturdays, by calling the phone number provided.