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Porto Flavia is a sea harbor located near Nebida in the Iglesias comune of Italy. Built in 1923–24, it served as the mineral production hub of Masua in the west coast of the Sardinian Iglesiente area. It is named after Flavia Vecelli, the daughter of Cesare Vecelli, who engineered and designed the harbor. The harbor’s characteristics make it unique in the world, and at the time of its construction it was an outstanding engineering feat.
The mines’ owner asked the Italian engineer Cesare Vecelli to devise a solution to improve steamship loading time and cost. Vecelli surveyed the coasts of Masua, ultimately finding the perfect spot in the high cliffs in front of the Pan di Zucchero stack. Here, the sea was deep enough and well-protected from wind and waves to allow a safe mooring, while the ore could be loaded from the cliffs by gravity.
After one year of study, Vecelli devised a detailed plan to build two superimposed tunnels, each 600 metres (2,000 ft) long, that were linked by nine huge vertical reservoirs for the processed ore. In the upper tunnel an electric train was used to bring the load the reservoirs: the ore was unloaded by gravity into hatches on top of the reservoirs. In the lower tunnel a conveyor belt received the ore from the reservoirs and brought it to an extensible 16-metre (52 ft) long conveyor belt capable of fully loading a steamship moored at the base of the cliff in about two days. The ends of the tunnels facing the sea were adorned with concrete towers and decorative nameplates. They were not necessary to the operation, but were asked to be constructed by the owner of the company as a mark of prestige. Vecelli’s daughter, Flavia, was born earlier in 1924 and the engineer obtained from the company to name the harbor after her.
Porto Flavia’s importance decreased in the 1960s after the decline of mining activity in Sulcis-Iglesiente, and it was closed in the 1990s when mineral production in Masua ceased. Today, it is owned by IGEA SpA, a public company charged with the restoration and preservation of the old mining plants.
info source: wikipedia
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