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Sibillini Mountains: The coal cellars path

In Cessapalombo woods you can explore the ancient trails of the coal cellars

by Nadia Stacchiotti

Nowadays we immediately think of the coal when we are going to cook a tasty grilled meat, but in the ancient times how did we do? In Marche there wasn’t the coal mining, so the coal was extracted from the wood. For this reason in the forests together with the cutted wood, valuable source of warm in winter, were installed the coal cellars: pretty complex systems that allow the wood to release all the water and become precious coal. Then carry the coal until the valley was the mule’s work.

Today coal cellars are only a remember of the past, but in the Cessapalombo’s woods, a small burg in the Sibillini mountains, you can still admire them.The coal cellars path starts in the small fraction of Villa. You have to follow the street that rans along the church, go on by car until it’s possible and then continue by foot. You’ll find the first coal cellar after 50 meters protected by an unstable structure made of metal sheet. We stopped here but you can find other coal cellars by continuing the path.

Coal cellar

Coal cellar

How did the coal cellars work? Was built a conical pile of wood covered with earth and then were left holes for air escape. The technique wasn’t easy at all and required a specialized profession. Also locate the right place to build the coal cellar and recover the wood to use wasn’t so easy. Near Palazzo Simonelli of Montalto di Cessapalombo you can find a small eco-museum that tells the coal cellar’s story. We didn’t stay to sleep but the owner said that the complex, accurately restored, is very cheap: 18 euros for night. Furthermore the food is very fresh, so is better if you book to be sure to find abundance of food and a room available!

Nadia Stacchiotti, Racconti di Marche blog

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