Abbadia San Salvatore, a municipality with a population of 6,800 people, lies 70 km from Siena on the eastern slopes of Mount Amiata, an extinct volcano dating from the Quaternary era, rich in deposits of cinnabar, a mineral from which mercury is extracted. The name of this town, founded in 750, comes from the Benedictine Abbey, San Salvatore, which was the wealthiest in Tuscany. An 11th century Romanesque church, restored during the 16th century, and an interesting 8th century crypt are still visible. The medieval town centre, a maze of streets criss-crossed with arches, preserves a number of Gothic or Renaissance style palaces.
Abbadia has always lived from the bounty of its mountain.
For many centuries, forestry helped to feed the local population. In 1897, the installation of a vast mining complex for extracting and processing mercury contributed to the growth of the region's economy until 1970.
Today, the village, with its tree-lined avenues is a destination for summer holidays and winter sports.
The town council manages a variety of projects dealing with history and social life. The old mining site is currently being converted: along with a business incubator, there is a museum which presents the geology and the history of mercury mining and which offers an insight into the difficult lives led by the miners.
A multi-purpose activity centre provides young people with sporting, cultural and first-class technological infrastructures. At the same time, the urban centre is in the process of being revamped.