Some attractions should deserve more attention, but their unhappy position or perhaps a poor (if not absent) promotion can be detrimental. This is the case for Porto Flavia, which together with Pan di Zucchero represent an exceptional destination for anyone traveling to Sardinia, and especially in the province of Carbonia-Iglesias.
Inactive since a long time, Porto Flavia is an industrial archaeology site located in a sublime natural setting. Located in Masua, a few kilometres from Gonnesa along the south-western coast of Sardinia, Porto Flavia represents one of the most innovative and daring engineering works of the 1900s in Italy.
For a length of about 600 meters, under the mountain runs the central core of Porto Flavia, a structure formed by two galleries on two overlapping floors, one used for the incoming material and one for the outgoing one. The possibility to load minerals directly onto ships (the name of the site indicates its seaport vocation) is the peculiar and in some ways revolutionary feature of Porto Flavia. But the global view is what most attracts visitors: once at the mouth of the gallery, the vastness of the sea will surround you, only interrupted by the huge rock named Pan di Zucchero by virtue of its unmistakable shape. A show for few that generously repays every effort to get there.
Luca Boschetto’s review on his guided tour experience
Porto Flavia può essere visitato da chiunque negli orari e nei giorni riportati alla pagina dedicata del sito Igea Spa, società che ha in gestione la struttura. Per avere un assaggio di cosa vi aspetta, ho pensato di intervistare l’amico Luca Boschetto, lasciando a lui il compito di descrivere i punti di forza di Porto Flavia, senza rinunciare a qualche osservazione. Ecco la sua testimonianza:
You can visit Porto Flavia at the times and days stated on the www.igeaspa.it website, the company that manages the site. To get a taste of what your experience will be like, I interviewed my friend Luca Boschetto, who has the responsibility to describe the strengths of Porto Flavia and comment on his visit:
I visited Porto Flavia on a weekend in January and I could enjoy a site of undoubted beauty and charm. The view over Pan di Zucchero from the tunnel is worth the entire visit, whether on calm sea days or in stormy days. In addition, the transport and storage system are a unique example of mining engineering: the tunnel below, by means of silos dug into the mountain, received by fall on conveyor belts the materials which had to be embarked by hopper on the ships.
It is a shame, however, that this gallery cannot be visited nowadays for safety reasons, which could be sorted if only this site was better valued, and more money was invested in local tourism. At the same time, the site’s promotion should be done on a wider scale: people arrive here mostly by chance than because they know the site.
The visit lasts approximately 35-45 minutes and costs 10 euros, guided tour included. Overall, Porto Flavia has an outstanding potential for tourism, but the site is quite neglected by the administration.
I still recommend a visit, though: you won’t regret it!