Since 1840 the territory exploitation had been occasionally carried out with few industrial investments. Afterwards mining exploitation had become more important for manufacturers thanks to a new law which separated soil from the subsoil property, allowing a better exploitation, directly or through mining concessions.
The subsoil exploitation was administrated by 2 groups of separated mining concessions:Montevecchio mines and Ingurtosu and Gennamari mines.
Montevecchio Mines were exploting Montevecchio vein, which is one of the richest, most remarkable and better known.
Montevecchio was considered one of the most important industrial realities in the entire Sardinia. It was the most relevant lead and zinc producer, obtaining acknowledgments for its advanced technology plants and for its important directors and engineers.
From 1848, after few industrial failures, a greater innovation and expansion started thanks to Giovanni Antonio Sanna entrepreneur from Sassari who obtained a permanent exploitation license. The village greatly expanded, there were nearly 5000 people, many important structures as schools, cinemas, hospitals, sport fields, post office and a camp for the miners’ children called Casa al mare Francesco Sartori, today renamed Funtanazza, had been built.
The mines are located on two different construction sites, Cantieri di Levante, in the Montevecchio village and Cantieri di Ponente along the white street which from Montevecchio leads to Ingurtosu village; the two areas are separated by Gennaserapis pass where Montevecchio village is located, here there are the most important buildings of the Mine: the headquarter, the guest-rooms, the hospital, the school and the church.
In the Cantieri di Levante there is St. Antonio mine (Montevecchio concession nº1) and Piccalinna’s and Mezzena construction site, while in the Cantieri di Ponente there are Sanna mine (Montevecchio concession nº2), and Telle and Casargiu’s mines (Montevecchio concession nº3).
The Montevecchio village, which today is inhabited by some hundreds of people, is located in beautiful holms-oak rovelle and cork-oak woods, testifying the mines ancient life and offering guided visits to the Cantieri di Levante buildings: the workshops, the Anglosarda gallery, thePiccalinna Mine and the main managing building.