A symbol of the history and economy of the Pistoia Mountains. Europe's largest air raid shelter which twists and turns for more than 2 km.
The S.M.I. – Italian Metallurgic Industry – museum and shelters is an excellent example of industrial archeology, unique in Europe due to the size of this vast underground shelter and totally safe from air raids. It is to be found at Campo Tizzoro in the Municipality of San Marcello Piteglio in the Pistoia Mountains. Its history is inextricably bound to that of S.M.I.’s industrial factories, leaders in cartridge production in periods of war, and first installed here in 1911.
The S.M.I. built its first housing units for their workers between 1930 and 1935 and in 1937, work began on the building of air raid shelters.
Up until the 1980’s, this industrial plant was at the very heart of the Pistoia Mountains’ economy; apart from the production of cartridges and bullets, it also began to work on bronze, steel, and copper laminates. The Museum provides documentary evidence on this industrial activity, right up to 2006.
The Museum tells the story of a hundred years of Italian industrial history, whether it be in the ‘Campo Tizzoro Munizioni da Guerra’ factory, or in the group’s other factories: Livorno, Ferriere di Mammiano, Limestre, Firenze, Fornaci di Barga and in the BRIXIA (Brescia) group. A Museum which is proud to have the only and the largest air raid shelter in the whole of Europe, winding below the Campo Tizzaro area for over 2 km.
Arranged into thematic rooms and still being increased in size, the visitor can retrace the history of Italian light and heavy ammunition from 1860 to 2000.
The Shelters are tunnels dug deep into rock at a depth between 15 to 30 metres under the boundary of the S.M.I. area. They were made by the Italian Metallurgic Industry in order to protect its work force which was considered to be the factory’s most important asset. One sole facility and which was the largest in Europe. And it was armed and fully equipped so as to withstand the very fiercest of bombings.