Distretto Minerario di Pergine

Little is spoken of the mystery of the canopi, and even less is known about them. The third most populous city in Trentino which lies on the floor of the Fersina river valley was the beating heart and nerve centre of this rich mining area from the year 1000 to the end of the Middle Ages. The canopi, or Knappen (miners) who arrived from Swabia, Saxony, Bavaria and Bohemia, summoned by the Prince-Bishops to mine lead and silver ore underground, are remembered in the names of squares, parks and streets of Pergine, as well as the buildings that the Confraternities of the Miners raised for or thanks to the canopi. But that is all. There is no written evidence because the metals brought a great deal of wealth to those who could by-pass the laws of the Emperor on an illegal and submerged market that could of course leave no written records. The canopi were better prepared than any other miners because they had no fear of digging or burrowing underground and squeezing through tighter and tighter spaces into the very depths of the earth. They had flair and courage. Or maybe they were just that bit more desperate than the others. Wander through the streets of Pergine, look at what remains of the majestic buildings and then raise your eyes towards the castle. And remember that all around you, the earth has been pierced and hollowed.