Today the great Sicilian epic of production and export of sulfur is relegated in history books and forgotten by the local collective memory. This article brings it to the fore-tracing the economic and social dynamic traits of the extractive industry in Sicily, the biggest Mediterranean island. Sulfur is a mineral known since ancient times yet systematically exploited only between the ending years of the 1700s and the 1960s. The sulfur extracting industry made Sicily the first exporting region in the world, capable of sending the raw mineral to the importing markets of the flourishing great Western Countries. Though the extracting activity did involve large part of population, especially people living in the central-southern area of the island, the resulting big wealth benefited near exclusively the owners of mines and the traders of the extracted mineral. The entire large quantity of laborers lived in starving conditions and worked in dramatic socio-environmental situations. The rising of the US sulfur industry at the beginning of 1900 will mark the slow but sure course of the declining Sicilian sulfur industry until the beginning of closure of the mines in the 1970s. Revival of socio-cultural memories is today possible by adopting a restoration planning of abandoned industrial sites, and linking conservation to sustainable tourism and cultural itineraries.

Lo Zolfo in Sicilia: dinamiche socio-economiche e culturali

CANNIZZARO SALVATORE;Danese Antonio
2017

Abstract

Today the great Sicilian epic of production and export of sulfur is relegated in history books and forgotten by the local collective memory. This article brings it to the fore-tracing the economic and social dynamic traits of the extractive industry in Sicily, the biggest Mediterranean island. Sulfur is a mineral known since ancient times yet systematically exploited only between the ending years of the 1700s and the 1960s. The sulfur extracting industry made Sicily the first exporting region in the world, capable of sending the raw mineral to the importing markets of the flourishing great Western Countries. Though the extracting activity did involve large part of population, especially people living in the central-southern area of the island, the resulting big wealth benefited near exclusively the owners of mines and the traders of the extracted mineral. The entire large quantity of laborers lived in starving conditions and worked in dramatic socio-environmental situations. The rising of the US sulfur industry at the beginning of 1900 will mark the slow but sure course of the declining Sicilian sulfur industry until the beginning of closure of the mines in the 1970s. Revival of socio-cultural memories is today possible by adopting a restoration planning of abandoned industrial sites, and linking conservation to sustainable tourism and cultural itineraries.
sicilian sulfur industry, socio-economic changes, children miners, cultural itineraries.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/358205
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