The soffioni of Larderello
Who has not become curious when seeing national cash advance payday loans the earth spit out steam near Volterra?
These natural events in the Larderello area (lakes, soffioni and hot water springs) were already known to the Etruscans and the Romans who used the boron salts for pharmaceutical use and for preparing glazes.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the water was used for spa and pharmaceutical purposes.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, following the discovery of boric acid in the lakes of Volterra, the first attempts at commercial exploitation were made.
In 1818, Francesco Giacomo Larderel, a salesman of French origins, founded the first industrial centre for the production of borax near Montecerboli.
In a few decades, thanks to continuous technical innovations, the borax industry became a leading-edge model in the industrial and technological panorama of Tuscany. In 1846, Great Duke Leopold II, gave a local village the name Larderello in order to pay homage to the founder of the borax industry.
Some factories were built at Lustignano, Serrazzano, Monterotondo, Castel Nuovo, Sasso and Lago. The soffioni are currently used for the production of geothermal energy.
The history of the borax industry is documented in the Museum of Geothermal Energy in Piazza Paolina, Larderello (Info: tel. 0588 67724)