The Calisio plateau, which includes the boroughs of Albiano, Civezzano, Fornace and Trento, is today as it was in the past very important for its underground riches. The mountain to the east of Trento was once called Argentario due to its silver mines. The Canòpi (from the German word Knappen, which meant miner or silver worker who came from the German regions) mined the precious metal used by the Prince-Bishop of Trento and to mint the local coinage.
Also from Calisio come the Rosso Trento (Trento red) and Dosis, ammonite rocks with which the city of Trento was built. This material was chosen because it was easily available but also for its white and red colour which was in fact that of the coat of arms of Bernardo Clesio (Cles, 1485 Bressanone 1539), who put much effort into remodelling the city in view of the Council of Trento (1545 – 1563). These are the stones that to this day characterize with porphyry the paving and buildings of the historical centre of Trento.
Some of these disused quarries have been turned into green areas and can be seen from Villamontagna to Coste Park, from the “Laste” to the “Predara”. During the 90s Trento city council, in view of the revamping of the city centre, reopened Pila Quarry, which is in the Villamontagna area and within the Argentario Ecomuseum. The historical quarry was made safe and is now open to guided tours and has become a venue for shows and other types of events.
Today’s underground richness of Calisio is porphyry.
Its history began 280 million years ago. The ahs and lava that numerous volcanic eruptions threw up deposited and cooled over time creating deposits of porphyry that could reach 2 km in depth. This extremely hard rock is what characterizes the Cembra valley and is mainly quarried in the boroughs of Albiano and Fornace where the many quarries have created a peculiar, almost lunar, landscape characterized by huge open air natural terraces.