Porto Flavia’s characteristics make it unique in the world, and at the time of its construction it was an outstanding engineering feat.
The port, built in 1923-24, served as mineral production hub in the west cost of Sardinian Sulcis area. It is named after Flavia Vecelli, the daughter of Cesare Vecelli, who engineered and designed the harbor. Extraction began in 1600, but became economically relevant only in the early 1900s when the mining business in the whole region experienced a quick expansion. [Wikipedia]
Extraction began in 1600, but became economically relevant only in the early 1900s when the mining business in the whole region experienced a quick expansion.
In 1922, Masua mines were acquired by the Belgian Vieille Montagne Company. Mines’ owner asked the Italian engineer Cesare Vecelli to devise a solution to improve steamship loading time and cost.
Vecelli surveyed the coasts of Masua, ultimately finding the perfect spot in the high cliffs in front of the Pan di Zucchero stack. Here, the sea was deep enough and well-protected from wind and waves to allow a safe mooring, while the ore could be loaded from the cliffs by gravity. When Porto Flavia became operative in 1924, it slashed ore production costs by up to 70%, allowing Veille Montaigne to gain a strong market share in a short time.
Working conditions in Porto Flavia were better than in the mines because of a functional powder removal system, good venting, natural light, top-class machinery and better wages. Porto Flavia’s importance decreased in the 1960s after the decline of mining activity in Sulcis, and it was closed in the 1990s when mineral production in Masua ceased.
Today, it is owned by IGEA SpA, a public company charged with the restoration and preservation of the old mining plants. Porto Flavia is a UNESCO-protected site, and is one of the suggested destinations for tours of minerary and industrial archeology sites in the region.
Source: [Wikipedia] – Photos: Flickr