In the Val di Tinne, a remote valley near the Villandro Alp, the St. Elizabeth Gallery is located, which is still accessible today.
It was the year 1130 when the "mons argenti", the Silver Mountain of Villandro, was first mentioned. At that time it was given to the Augustinian Monastery of Novacella near Bressanone. Barbarossa confirmed this donation in Venice in 1177, which guaranteed the newly founded monastery good income. Even a fortress was built a bit later at the foot of the mine to protect it. The Villandro Silver Mine - "Silberbergwerk Villanders" in German, "Miniera d'argento di Villandro" in Italian - experienced its heyday in the 16th century. The area was also one of the most important ore mining areas in Tyrol in the Middle Ages.
Initially in search of precious metals such as gold and silver, the intentions became more realistic over time. The miners, whose life expectancy at that time was not more than 40 years, confined themselves to the search for copper, pyrite and zinc. The main extraction area of the Villandro or Fundres Mine, "Rotlahn", was developed over the centuries by numerous galleries, first those at higher altitudes and then some below. The mountain was downright perforated by a network of 25 km of tracks. In the 20th century the mine was abandoned and fell into oblivion.
Only a few years ago the St. Elizabeth and St. Laurence Galleries were extensively restored. Today the Cultural and Museum Association of Villandro offers interesting guided tours that take you on a journey into the past in one of the few mines of South Tyrol. And how to reach the Villandro Silver Mine in the Valle Isarco valley? From the "Mühlele" tavern towards Lazfons starts a beautiful but demanding hike, which first leads to the miners' church of St. Anna at 1,133 m a.s.l. and then further on to the mine (2.5 hours). The views on the Dolomites are unique. Alternatively, there is a parking space 300 m below the gallery for those arriving by car.
guided tour of the St. Elizabeth Gallery (on a regular basis, about 1.5 hours):
€ 9.00 adults, young people (16-18 years)
€ 7.00 groups (15 and more persons)
€ 4.00 children and young people (6-15 years)
€ 7.00 seniors 65+, students
€ 3.00 school classes
€ 20.00 family ticket (2 adults with children up to 15 years)
guided tour of the St. Elizabeth and St. Laurence Galleries (on reservation):
€ 15.00 adults, young people (16-18 years)
€ 13.00 groups (15 and more persons)
€ 8.00 children and young people (6-15 years)
€ 30.00 family ticket (2 adults with children up to 15 years)
discount for the Tiso Mineral Museum and the Archeoparc Villandro with the mine ticket
The mine is accessible only during a guided tour: Easter to Nov 1, 2021, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30 am and 2.30 pm, Sundays at 10.30 pm (guided tour of the St. Elizabeth Gallery, meeting point at the mine, in German and Italian language). Guided tour of the St. Elizabeth and St. Laurence Galleries only on reservation.
Warm clothes and stury shoes recommended - the gallery has a temperature of 8 degrees C. After the visit you can look for different ores found in the mine at the scree field.