The Carrara Marble Quarries are surrounded by the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps. They are the largest marble basins in the world.
The park was established in 1985 and is located between the provinces of Lucca and Massa-Carrara.
It’s possible to admire the Quarries from above from various breathtaking panoramic points, including the sensational one from Piazzale dell'Acquasparta at 1275 m.s.l.m. and the magical one from the Piana di Campocecina at 1285 m.s.l.m.
A fundamental step for every visitor is the visit to the three basins of the Marble Quarries: Torano, Fantiscritti and Colonnata. Personalized itineraries are also available: you’ll witness the explanations of ancient and modern methods of extraction of marble.
Thus, through a fantastic journey on the Ponti di Vara and inside the tunnels dug into the rock, we’ll set out to discover these wonderful quarries, already known in pre-Roman times for the extraction of white marble.
The mountains so dear to the “Carrarini people” are described by Strabone as follows: "Quarries of white and blue-streaked stone that are so numerous and large produce monoliths both for slabs and columns, so that most of the famous works in Rome and in other towns they draw from here. In fact, the marble is easily transportable since the quarries are above the nearby sea and the River Tevere easily receives the loads coming from the sea ... "
The marbles were transported downstream through a wooden sled, on rollers, held by large ropes anchored to the slope, the so-called "lizzatura method". Then they traveled along the Via Carraia loaded on wagons pulled by mighty oxen to reach the Via Emilia Scauri or the Port of Luni from where they set sail to reach their target destinations.
The multitude of artifacts, the numerous inscriptions and Roman remains found in the Quarries are now exhibited in the Civic Museum of Marble in Carrara.
The “Rilievo of Fantiscritti”, carved on a front of the Fantiscritti quarry in 210 AD. approximately, is now preserved at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara.
Many sculptors, over the centuries, have drawn from the Carrara Quarries, as they represent an infinite source of inspiration for artists such as Michelangelo, Giambologna and Canova.
The villages of the quarrymen, closely linked to the processing of white marble from the Apuan Alps, are worth a visit: Colonnata, famous for the production of the prized lard, an IGP product par excellence, Codena, Bergiola, Bedizzano, Miseglia and Torano. Finally, the villages of Sorgnano, Gragnana, Noceto and the ancient village of Castelpoggio.