Cammino Minerario Di Santa Barbara




This project, strongly desired by President Giampiero Pinna (1950 – 2022), the founding father of the Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara (CMSB), has been realized and financed by the CMSB Foundation, within the scope of its institutional purposes to redevelop the paths of the CMSB.

Its implementation stems from an agreement between the Regional State Property Agency and the CMSB Foundation, through which the lands of the former railway route were granted in gratuitous concession by the Regional State Property Agency to the CMSB Foundation, with the specific purpose of carrying out the work.

The project is proposed in accordance with the feasibility plan, prepared by the CMSB Foundation, for the recovery and redevelopment of the entire route of the former railway between Gonnesa and Iglesias. It was carried out following an initial pilot project in May 2020, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Transport, obtained by the CMSB Foundation and subsequently transferred by the Foundation to the Municipality of Gonnesa, which oversaw its completion.

The Pilot Project involved securing the passage at the railway bridge in the locality of Funtana Coperta, through the installation of COR-TEN steel parapet barriers and the construction of a new mixed unbound granular pavement in the bridge area.

Consistent with the pilot project, the current project has allowed the redevelopment of the entire section of the former F.M.S. railway (Ferrovie Meridionali Sarde) from the Gonnesa football field to Bindua (Iglesias), covering a total of 3.47 km, pursuing the following objectives:

  • To ensure the safe use of the cycle and pedestrian tourist path through the redevelopment of the pavement, the installation of informative signage, including safety guidelines and best practices for using the path, the installation of COR-TEN steel parapet barriers in exposed areas at risk of falling from a height.
  • To ensure adequate safety conditions for transit within the “Punta Is Ollastus” tunnel by verifying the stability and structural integrity of the tunnel vault, reinforcing the crown at the west entrance, and installing a lighting and video surveillance system powered by renewable energy sources.


Starting from the northern outskirts of Gonnesa, near the sports field (CURRENT POSITION), the path follows the development of the former railway line of the F.M.S., which has been specifically upgraded by the Fondazione CMSB into a cycle-pedestrian path and reaches the southwestern outskirts of the hamlet of Bindua (Iglesias).

It spans approximately 3.50 km and is an integral part of Stage 30 of the Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara, which goes from the church of Santa Barbara in Bacu Abis (Carbonia) to Piazza Quintino Sella in Iglesias.

The path overlaps with the entire CAI 513 route and a portion of the CAI 314 route (which continues to Monte Agruxiau) and is easy and pleasant to travel, with an average slope of approximately +8.8% to -8.4%, starting from 36 meters above sea level and reaching 84 meters above sea level.

Along the path, which follows the San Giorgio River valley and the SS-126 development on the western slope of Monte San Giovanni, you will come across several points of interest, which are as follows in relation to the current position:

  • At 1.36 km, you’ll encounter the San Giovanni roadblock landmark.
  • At 2.00 km, there’s an intersection with CAI path 515 leading to the mining village of Normann.
  • At 2.15 km, you’ll reach the railway tunnel called Is Ollastus. At 2.29 km, you’ll cross the railway bridge over the Rio San Giorgio.
  • At 2.40 km, there’s an intersection with CAI path 315, which goes to Funtana Coperta through Pozzo Baccarini.
  • At 2.65 km, you’ll pass through the 1925 railway tunnel.
  • At 3.00 km, you’ll traverse some sections in the railway trench.
  • At 3.50 km, you’ll reach the broken bridge, from where you descend to Bindua (Iglesias).

Upon reaching Bindua, Stage 30 continues towards the former mining area of San Giovanni, accessed through the underpass on SS126.

In this area, a dense network of hiking trails has recently been established, as detailed in the attached maps.

Descrizione del percorso
Rete escursionistica


The geological formations in the area belong to the Paleozoic era, specifically the Cambrian period, which occurred from approximately 541.0 ± 1.0 million years ago, marking the end of the Proterozoic era, and concluded around 485.4 ± 1.9 million years ago with the advent of the Ordovician period.

The outcropping lithologies consist of sedimentary rocks, including sandstones, limestones, dolomitic limestones, dolomites, and shales.

Locally, there are Quaternary alluvial deposits as well.

Additionally, numerous anthropogenic deposits are present, primarily composed of mining waste, bearing witness to the extensive historical mining activities and clearly demonstrating the human impact on the pre-existing natural system.

Geology in this area can be broadly categorized into three main groups:

  • Nebida Group: comprising the Matoppa Formation (Sandstones, Siltstones, Shales) and the Punta Manna Formation (Sandstones, Dolomitic Limestones).
  • Gonnesa Group: comprising the Santa Barbara Formation (Laminated Dolomites) and the San Giovanni Formation (Ceroide Limestone and Gray Dolomites).
  • Iglesias Group: comprising the Campo Pisano Formation (Nodular Limestones) and the Cabitza Formation (Laminated Shales).

These formations represent a range of sedimentary rock types and provide valuable insights into the geological history of the area.

Upon completing the route and entering the former mining area of the San Giovanni Mine, it is possible to visit, by prior reservation, the captivating and spectacular Grotta di Santa Barbara. This natural cavity dates back to the Lower Cambrian period, approximately 500 million years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest caves. It was discovered in 1952 during mining activities and has been preserved intact to this day.

From a naturalistic perspective, the area is characterized by typical Mediterranean scrubland formations, which take on a more forested character on the upper slopes.

The entire area falls within the boundaries of the Site of Community Importance (SIC) ITB040029 “Costa di Nebida.” In the Fontana Coperta area, there are

Area SIC


Do not stray from the marked path, as the surrounding areas pose risks due to the presence of mining structures such as shafts, tunnels, excavations, and mining dumps, often unmarked.

Along the route, do not handle materials found in the vicinity of mining dumps located near the path.