Mineralogical Museum Luigi Celleri San Piero

Tourmalines, Beryl, Aquamarine, exhibited at the Luigi Celleri San Piero

The recent establishment in San Piero of the “LUIGI CELLERI” MINERALOGICAL AND GEMMOLOGICAL MUSEUM has brought the public’s attention back to the wonders of the Elba subsoil.

Tormaline - San Piero
Tormaline – San Piero

The precious minerals of Elbaite, Petalite, pollucite, Aquamarine, Beryl, the particular dark brown tourmalines, unique to San Piero and recognized by collectors from all over the world.

Together with other minerals extracted mostly in the vicinity of San Piero and exhibited in many places around the world except in the place where they were found.

Finally, in 2014, the beautiful unique tourmalines of San Piero, together with other beautiful minerals, are also exhibited in the place where they were found with the opening of a special exhibition area, the: MUM – Luigi Celleri Mineralogical Museum. Thus giving maximum expression to the Sanpieresi minerals.

The area of ​​San Piero frequented by many Geologists

The area of ​​San Piero in Campo, rich in pegmatitic veins containing splendid tourmalines and beryls, has been studied by numerous geologists since 1825. Well-known names, including Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti, Giovanni D’Achiardi, Raffaello Foresi and Luigi Celleri. It is in fact one of the European and world areas with the greatest concentrations of these precious minerals.

For the diversity and variety of minerals found, the Island of Elba is classified second only to Brazil and the samples from the area of ​​San Piero in Campo are preserved and exhibited in museums around the world.

The best-known deposits of San Piero (Luigi Celleri Museum)

Grottadoggi (in the Middle Ages Grotte Giorge)

The site was excavated starting in 1825. Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti wrote: «But Mr. lieutenant Giovanni Ammannati, being in garrison at Porto-Ferrajo on the island of Elba, guided by a virtuous genius of knowing the beauties that Nature has scattered in general of minerals on the said island (…) yes has taken care to have these singular beauties excavated and collected, and thus made known, which he has found in a granite mass in a broom in San Pietro a Campo in a place called Grotta d’Oggi, in a fund or possession belonging to the most reverend priest Mr. Raffaello Pisani, from which Mr. lieutenant bought the said stone on 6 May 1825; which boulder had a circumference of 44 arm lengths, and the greatest height, towards the north, of 20 arm lengths.»

Loop of Hope

Located in Fonte del Prete near San Piero in Campo, it was so called around 1850 by the commander Giuseppe Pisani (1808-1885) because, as the geologist Igino Cocchi wrote, «…after having worked elsewhere with little luck, he promised himself better luck from this.». Inside, numerous specimens of pollucite were found. After a few years of abandonment, the excavation of the Seam of Hope was resumed in 1905 and 1906 by the engineer Giulio Pullé.

Masso Foresi

The excavation works undertaken at Masso di Fonte del Prete (called Masso Foresi in reference to Raffaello Foresi) began on 25 January 1872 and ended in mid-April of the same year. During this period, numerous minerals were discovered: foresite (described as a new zeolite in 1874, but actually a mixture of stilbite and cookeite), heulandite, chabasite, and natrolite. The large geodes called the Four Evangelists were extracted from the Masso Foresi.

The Four Evangelists found a short distance from the Luigi Celleri Museum

The Four Evangelists found a short distance from the Luigi Celleri Museum - now exhibited in the Florence Museum
The Four Evangelists found in 1873 a short distance from the Luigi Celleri Museum – Now on display in the Florence Museum

The so-called Four Evangelists are four blocks of granodiorite measuring approximately 60 x 70 cm on whose surface are scattered crystals of pink tourmaline, aquamarine beryl, pollucite, heulandite and orthoclase. The blocks were found in 1873 in Fonte del Prete during research conducted by Raffaello Foresi, a short distance from the Luigi Celleri mineralogical museum in S. Piero (western Elba). Initially the Four Evangelists were exhibited in the Foresi Museum in Portoferraio; their name, as told by the chronicles of the time (La Nazione, 1874), was due to a monk who, seeing the blocks exhibited in the museum «…so astonished and astonished he was amazed by them in the enthusiasm of admiration, throwing himself on his knees, li proclaimed The Four Evangelists. Today they are kept in the Museum of Mineralogy and Lithology of the University of Florence, together with the so-called Cinquemila Elbani, samples of minerals from the island.

La particolarità geologica dell’Isola d’Elba

The richness and variety of Elba’s minerals, linked to the extraordinary geological landscape, have made the island famous all over the world. Elba samples of hematite, pyrite, tourmaline are present and excel in all mineralogical museums. On Elba a dozen minerals were found in nature for the first time, including ilvaite, which takes its name from the ancient name of the island Ilva.

Minerals of San Piero exhibited in various museums

At the Museum of Natural History of the University of Pisa and at the Museum of Mineralogy of the University of Florence we find specially dedicated areas for the minerals of the Island of Elba. The great majority of the samples come from the pegmatites of San Piero in Campo and from the mines of Rio Marina.

San Piero is the center of the Elba Island open-air museum

San Piero is located at the foot of Monte Capanne; it is an area known above all for the wealth of pegmatitic veins and tourmalines (elbaites), as well as for the presence of granite quarries, the extraction of which has been documented since ancient times of the Romans.
The Museo Mineralogico Luigi Celleri , with its collections therefore allows the visitor to get to know the area and its resources.
One room of the museum is dedicated to granite and to the techniques used for its extraction and processing.
There is no shortage of iron minerals, even if a large part of the collection consists of samples of tourmalines and minerals from the pegmatitic veins of Monte Capanne, still today the subject of study by various universities and research centers around the world.

The “jokes” Tourmalines of S. Piero, Luigi Celleri Mineralogical Museum

These crystals, called by the common people “scherzi”, have been known since the end of the 1700s; in over two centuries, tens of thousands of samples have been collected, which have gone on to enrich museums all over the world and prestigious private collections.
The Museo Mineralogico Luigi Celleri was created to be able to exhibit in the place of origin the splendid crystals of the territory of Campo, to testify its immense wealth. The samples on display have in part been found by some passionate collectors, from Elba and elsewhere, starting from the early 1970s and in part belong to historical 19th-century collections. The showcases display some specimens belonging to the MUM, the object of recent donations, and specimens from the private collections of Federico Pezzotta, Christian Bauer and the heirs of Mario Navone.

Birth of the Luigi Celleri Mineralogical Museum

The idea of ​​opening a mineralogical museum in San Piero stems from a discussion between Dr. Federico Pezzotta and his Bavarian collector friend Klaus Virth, during a research excursion in 1994. From that occasion the idea continued to develop in parallel with the progress of his career professional experience of Federico Pezzotta in the field of museology, as curator of the Natural History Museum of Milan.

Temporary exhibition minerals of S. Piero advance of the Luigi Celleri Museum

After a temporary exhibition of samples of San Pietro from the collections of the Natural History Museum of Milan and some private collectors, held in the fortress of San Niccolò in 2009, at the end of 2012 it was finally understood that the opening of an exhibition in the premises of the future Museum would have been possible. Experimentally inaugurated on 22 July 2013 and definitively opened in March 2014, the Museo Mineralogico includes some specimens donated in recent years by some researchers and by the Lithium association, a selection of samples from the historical collections of the Natural History Museum of Milan, a large part of the Elba collection of Federico Pezzotta, some specimens from the collections Klaus Wirth, Marco Lorenzoni strong> and Michele degl’Innocenti, others belonging to the Mining Park of the Island of Elba.

Activities promoted by the Luigi Celleri San Piero Mineralogical Museum

Starting from an already extraordinary foundation, the Museum has embarked on an important evolutionary path. Modernly equipped and transformed into a multipurpose structure as well as a museum, it promotes various activities.

It is a starting point for numerous activities including trekking, trekking with donkeys, guided tours with observation and collection of small samples, theme evenings, visits to the granite quarries still active, visits to the ancient village, orienteering activities.

Venue for temporary exhibitions; last summer it hosted the largest existing collection of Napoleonic satirical prints and numerous works by artists from Elba. The permanent granite exhibition is under construction, a dutiful work in homage to San Piero and its history.

The following are an integral part of the Museum: a room used for laboratory activities aimed in particular at school groups, areas dedicated to practical activities such as observation with table lenses of the samples, a multimedia room with constantly played themed films, workstations with touchscreen for in-depth information, a large garden with thematic itineraries of various kinds

Guided excursions in the mineralogical areas of S. Piero

The Museo Mineralogico Luigi Celleri museum is the starting point for numerous excursion activities: trekking, trekking with donkeys, guided tours with observation and collection of small samples, theme nights, visits to the granite quarries still activities and visits to the ancient village. A new adventurous and exciting proposal is the Granite and Tourmaline safari of San Piero in collaboration with Safari in Mine: on board a military vehicle it is possible to visit beautiful places of Elban history such as the archaeological site “Il Sasso” and arrive at the legendary “Cava Rosina” from the very rich subsoil, where to look for pieces of granite, mica, tourmalines and the precious Elbaite!

Opening hours of the Luigi Celleri Museum

March 1st to April 15th: 3.00pm – 7.00pm – closed on Mondays
April 16th to May 31st: 11.30am – 1.30pm and 2.30pm – 6.30pm – closed on Mondays
June 1st to September 15th: 10.30am – 1.30pm and 3.30pm – 18.30 evening 20.30 – 22.30 – open every day
16 September to 2 November: 11.30 – 13.30 and 14.30 – 18.30 – closed on Mondays
8 December to 8 January: 14.00 – 18.00 – closed on 25 December

During the other periods of the year visits to the museum and excursions on request

Full MUM entrance ticket €4.50 – reduced €2.50

For info and reservations: tel. +39 393 8040990

Excursions organized by the Luigi Celleri Museum on Elba

Monday and Wednesday 9.00 Full price €12.00 – Reduced price €6.00

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Full price € 20.00 – Reduced price € 10.00

Sunday 4.00 pm Full price € 16.00 – Reduced price € 8.00

To participate in the excursions, reservations and at least 5 participants are required.

183 minerals identified on the island and 11 discovered for the first time on Elba

Tormaline - San Piero
Tormaline – San Piero

To date, 183 minerals have been identified on the Island of Elba. In agreement with the International Mineralogical Association (IMA), eleven minerals have been identified for the first time on Elba, two of which, ilvaite and elbaite, recall their type locality in their Latin name (Ilva) and in the current one.

Piccola Isola con moltitudine di rocce

Nei circa 200 kmq dell’Isola d’Elba coesistono in modo complesso una moltitudine di rocce sedimentarie, metamorfiche ed ignee. Mentre nella parte centrale ed orientale dell’isola dominano rocce sedimentarie e metamorfiche, la parte occidentale è costituita quasi per intero dall’intrusione monzogranitica del monte Capanne, dal perimetro quasi perfettamente circolare. Un secondo stock “granitico” si trova nell’Elba orientale, dove affiora in un tratto assai ristretto nel fosso Mar di Carvisi. Le rocce magmatiche toscane si inquadrano nel contesto dell’Orogenesi Appenninica. Si tratta di processi avvenuti nella fase post-orogenetica, in successione cronologica da occidente verso oriente: partendo dai 7 milioni di anni del monzogranito elbano si giunge fino alle effusioni quaternarie del Monte Amiata.

In the 19th century San Piero and Sant Ilario mineralogical locations among the most important in Italy and Europe

During the 19th century, the territory of Campo nell’Elba (and in particular the villages of S. Piero and S. Ilario on the eastern side of the monzogranite pluton of Monte Capanne) became one of the most important classic mineralogical localities in Italy and Europe. This is due to the discovery of a large number of magnificent mineralogical specimens, mainly with polychrome tourmaline crystals associated with various pegmatitic minerals. Scientific research, conducted on specimens from both historic museum collections and new field research campaigns, has made it possible to identify a good number of species belonging to the tourmaline supergroup on the Island of Elba.

Geological Map of the Island of Elba

Carta Geologica dell'Isola d'Elba

Geological Map of the Island of Elba, has been elaborated with a scale of 1:25,000 on the basis of data collected within the CARG project of the Geological Survey of Italy (ISPRA), the Tuscany Region and the University of Florence, through a shared editorial project. The resolution of the map makes it possible to enhance the details of the survey, at the same time making the Island of Elba more clear and immediately readable from a geological point of view, even for a non-expert audience.

Elba, the whole island is a museum

Nel 1835, Emanuele Repetti, nel secondo volume del suo Dizionario geografico fisico della Toscana, scrive:

L’isola d’Elba a buon diritto appellare si potrebbe il più dovizioso gabinetto mineralogico della Toscana. È questo il sito dove sembra che la natura abbia voluto riunire in un piccolo diametro sorprendenti fenomeni, e tali da richiamarvi costantemente i di lei cultori, spinti ed allettati, non solamente dalla singolare costituzione geognostica di questi monti, ma ancora dalla ricchezza delle miniere, e dalle preziose e variate cristallizzazioni dei molti minerali, che in quelle rocce si aggruppano e in belle forme si accoppiano.

(Repetti, 1835).

Nel 1841 M. Studer pubblica la prima carta geologica dell’Elba in bianco e nero, mentre bisogna aspettare gli anni Ottanta dell’Ottocento perché Bernardino Lotti (1847-1933), al tempo ingegnere del Corpo delle Miniere e in seguito presidente della Società Geologica Italiana, realizzi
il primo rilevamento di dettaglio dell’intera Isola d’Elba.

Nelle note esplicative, il grande geologo toscano Bernardino Lotti, definì l’Isola: «Un granDioso Museo mineralogico all’aperto» (Lotti,1886).

The pegmatitic strands of S. Piero and S. Ilario

Museo e Gabinetto mineralogico; museo e laboratorio diremmo oggi. Mai definizioni furono più felici. Il Museo – Laboratorio Elba, si estende dalla costa orientale, dove fra Rio e Calamita si ritrovano i suoi celebri giacimenti a ferro, a quella occidentale, dominata dalla potente mole granitica del Monte Capanne, con i famosi filoni pegmatitici di S. Piero e S. Ilario e le spettacolari esposizioni del suo anello termo metamorfico nelle scogliere di Pomonte e Punta Nera.

I minerali elbani presenti nei Musei naturalistici del Mondo

I minerali elbani sono presenti nei più prestigiosi Musei naturalistici del Mondo, studiati in centinaia di opere scientifiche e descritti in numerose opere a carattere didattico e divulgativo (D’Achiardi, 1873; Carobbi e Rodolico, 1976; Tanelli, 1995; Orlandi e Pezzotta, 1996; Tanelli e Benvenuti, 1998).

Le scoperte Geologiche Elbane, minerali scoperti per la prima volta all’Elba

Elbaite is a variety of tourmaline, which takes on different colors depending on the chemical composition.  Luigi Celleri Museum
L’Elbaite è una varietà di tormalina, che a seconda della composizione chimica assume colori differenti. Il minerale prende il suo nome dall’isola d’Elba.

Dolomieu in particolare è ricordato nel nome del carbonato di calcio e magnesio, la dolomite, e nel nome delle nostre Dolomiti, che da questo minerale sono prevalentemente formate. Tornando al silicato di calcio e ferro, l’accordo sul nome venne raggiunto, chiamandolo ilvaite, a ricordo della sua località tipo.

Seguono quindi le «scoperte» della elbaite (gruppo delle tormaline), bonattite, dachiardite, minguzzite, pollucite, urano polycrase, rubicline, fino alle definizioni, in questi primi anni del terzo millennio, della riomarinaite e delle ramaniti a cesio e rubidio (ima-mineralogy.org; mindat.org).

Collezione elbana oltre 6000 campioni nella sezione di Mineralogia del Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze

Una piccola appendice e una piccola anticipazione. Come vedremo meglio in seguito, gli oltre 6000 campioni che formano attualmente la «Collezione elbana» della sezione di Mineralogia del Museo di Storia Naturale di Firenze, derivano per due terzi da due collezioni storiche formate alla fine dell’Ottocento da Raffaello Foresi (1820-1876), uomo di cultura elbano e fiorentino di adozione, e Giorgio Roster (1843-1927), professore di igiene nel R. Istituto di Studi Superiori Pratici e di Perfezionamento di Firenze – oggi Università degli Studi – ed elbano di adozione (Tanelli, 2010).

Agli Elbani Raffaello Foresi e Giorgio Rosterd la scoperta di nuovi minerali

Berillo Rosterite varietà caratterizzata dalla presenza di cesio, con cristalli incolori o rosa pallido.
Berillo Rosterite varietà caratterizzata dalla presenza di cesio, con cristalli incolori o rosa pallido.

Al Foresi ed al Roster, sono legate due vicende di nomenclatura mineralogica. Alla fine dell’Ottocento, studiando i minerali delle pegmatiti di Campo venne individuata una «sostanza», considerata una nuova specie mineralogica, e alla quale venne dato il nome di «foresite» in onore di Raffaello Foresi (Pullè e Capacci, 1874).

Successive ricerche cancellarono la foresite fra i nuovi minerali, documentando come la «nuova sostanza» fosse un miscuglio di stilbite e cookeite. Nelle pegmatiti di Campo venne anche individuata una varietà di berillo, ricca in litio e cesio, ad habitus tabulare e cromaticità da incolore a giallo- rosa, denominata «rosterite» (Grattarola, 1880).

Rosterite dal «Filone La Speranza» di S.Piero

In 1908, the great Russian scientist VI Vernadsky (1863-1945), one of the founding fathers of geochemistry and geo-ecology identified in the granite pegmatites of Lipovka in the central Urals, crystals of beryl rich in cesium and lithium, naming them vorobyevite in honor of the Russian mineralogist VI Vorobyev. Rumors say that Grattarola’s work had escaped him, even if, the same rumors add, Vernadsky, after graduating from the University of St. Petersburg in 1885, had gone to the University of Naples to follow the teachings of the famous mineralist Arcangelo Scacchi (1810-1893), in whose Miscellanea the publication of Grattarola is still present.

Rosterite is a variety of beryl, from the “Filone La Speranza” of S. Piero

Almost a century after Grattarola’s work, x-ray diffraction shots on the same samples he studied validated rosterite as a variety of beryl (Carobbi and Rodolico, 1976).
Recently, in a study on the structural characteristics of the variety of beryl rich in cesium and lithium, the name of vorobyevite was again launched (Yakubovich et al., 2009). With this name it is indicated in the pages of mindat.org, but since, as we know, the devil makes pots but not lids, the
mineral, in the same web pages, is illustrated by a splendid photo of a colorless crystal and tabular of «true» rosterite coming from the «Filo La Speranza» of S.Piero. The fact also remains that it was Vernadsky himself in 1914, studying the variegated tourmalines of Elba, who called «elbaite» – rumors say as a remedial gesture – the lithium tourmaline, present as a valid mineral in the IMA list (Ertl , 2008).

Minerali particolari dell’isola d’Elba

E così, fra l’altro, si incontra per la prima volta un cognome: Pisani, che nelle figure degli elbani Spirito Pisani e cap. Giuseppe Pisani, contribuirono nell’Ottocento a raccogliere e collezionare minerali d’Elba, nonché di quel Gio.Batta Pisani che fu padrino di Luigi Celleri, il «mineralogista elbano» al quale sono riconducibili i ritrovamenti di molti dei campioni delle collezioni Foresi e Roster (Tanelli, 2007).

Ilvaite, Spessartina, Melanite, Granato Ottaedrico, le Tormaline Policrome, Ferro Oligisto, Petalite, Polluce, Berillo.

In the second half of the 19th century, Raffaello Foresi had collected thousands of samples of minerals from Elba in about twenty years. A special collection of that «little sanctuary of nature», as he writes in a printed letter to Igino Cocchi published in 1865. And he continues: «And they bear witness to this (I am talking about it without beating so as not to be infinite) the series of rich ilvaite of crystallographic varieties, the very clear specimens of spessartine and melanite, the octahedral garnet, the polychrome tourmalines, the multiple forms and hybridizations of iron oligisto, the castor [or PETalite] and the pollux perfectly crystallized, and two varieties of beryl, which out in this way they differ from the others of beryl known up to now» (Foresi, 1865).

Tourmaline and beryl images – Luigi Celleri S. Piero Museum

360° View

One of the internal rooms of the Luigi Celleri San Piero Mineralogical Museum


The Tourmalines of San Piero and the mineralogical interest of the Island of Elba – Luigi Celleri Mineralogical Museum

Tourmalines and minerals from the Island of Elba, Natural History Museum of the University of Florence

The famous Tourmalines found in San Piero – Elba Island (Rai 1)

Luigi Gesualdo Celleri

Luigi Gesualdo Celleri (San Piero in Campo, 5 June 1828 – San Piero in Campo, 21 July 1900) was an Italian mineralogist.

Cellerite, type of Tourmaline dedicated to Luigi Celleri, found in San Piero.
Cellerite, type of Tourmaline dedicated to Luigi Celleri, found in San Piero.

The mineralogical and gemological museum of San Piero in Campo, established in 2014, is named after Luigi Celleri.

The celleriite, a new yellowish tourmaline with a black tip found in San Piero in Campo, was dedicated to the mineralogist.

Born to Matteo Celleri and Rosa Gasperi, he dedicated himself to mineralogical research in collaboration with Raffaello Foresi. After Foresi’s death (1876) he undertook new research with Giorgio Roster and Bista Toscanelli, who had acquired numerous excavation rights in the pegmatitic veins of western Elba. Subsequently Luigi Celleri was commissioned to draw up mineralogical research for the establishment, by Pilade Del Buono, of a mineralogical museum in the Demidoff Gallery at the Villa di San Martino (Portoferraio). Important mineralogical finds date back to this period, such as gummy quartz (in Palombaia) and specimens of wollastonite (in Cavoli).

On April 19, 1900, during an excavation in the pegmatitic vein of Grottadoggi, Luigi Celleri fell ill and died two days later.