Ribolla was built as a 19th century home for miners in the area.

During WWI, captured Austrian and Hungarian soldiers were forced to work here, but in 1954, one of Europe’s worst mining tragedies closed the mines forever. A gas explosion killed 43 people, many of whom died because they hadn’t been given gas masks. More than 50,000 people attended the funerals.

Ribolla is a bit like those mining towns you see at the fun parks. All the original buildings, the train station, cinema and canteens, have been repurposed into homes for the modern residents.

Ribolla’s most famous monument is the above church. It’s the Chiesa dei Santi Barbara e Paolo, dedicated to Roccastrada’s patron saint, St Barbara, and built in 1941.

It’s not often that you get to see a town preserved in such a specific era of modern history, but it’s a really quiet and poetic place to visit and breathe in the mining spirit of the Maremma.