Non ci sono che sale, chiese, granai
In 1803 construction began for a Salina (salt flats) on the sea a few miles from the city of Tarquinia; for the construction about 100 convicts are exploited who were imprisoned inside the nearby prison of Porto Clementino, a former granary built by Clement XII. At the end of 1812, 100 to 200 prisoners and over 20 civilian workers work in the Salina. Chained to each other every morning the convicts go to the tanks, destined for the hard and exhausting work of extracting salt. Men arrived from distant lands, accused of bloody crimes. There were many cases of evasion, including the famous brigand Domenico Tiburzi, sentenced to 18 years in prison for the killing of the guardian of the Marquis Guglielmi.
This is a story of salt, brigands and malaria.
The Salina was located in a marshy area and, like most of the Maremma, dramatically burdened by the Malaria disease, whose only cure was state quinine. Here is what G. Dennis writes about the desolation of the place, after visiting the site in search of ancient Gravisca: "as soon as the dry season arrives, the whole coast is abandoned due to the terrible malaria. Only the customs officer remains to watch over the salt pyramids and curse his bad luck from the sentry box. "
Given the growing importance of the site and the need for more and more manpower, a small village was created around the Salina, a real housing complex with typical connotations of the workers' village, and a small community was formed linked to the production of salt. . During the Second World War, Tarquinia was occupied by German soldiers. The salt workers are displaced and the Porto Clementino prison is detonated by invaders retreating north. Once the war is over, the extraction resumes regularly, more and more mechanized. In 1980 about 170 hectares became a protected natural area, while production ceased definitively in 1997.
With the crisis and the definitive abandonment of the Salina, nature is slowly regaining its space. The community of salt workers has been disintegrating, and the village is increasingly taking on the typical features of an abandoned residual space.
''È un paese maremmano. Non ci sono che sale, chiese, granai.''