We travel now to the land whose white marble is known all over the world: Carrara. Since its discovery, artists and architects have prized this stone above all others and have used it to create some of the world’s most famous works and monuments.
Carrara’s marble caves are located in the extensive geological and mineral complex of the Apuan Alps, occupying however just 2% of the overall surface area. One of the features of this area is the presence of huge deposits of high-quality marble. They were formed in the early Jurassic period when a large part of the region was still covered by a vast sea with a limestone floor, giving rise to a carbonate platform.
The discovery of marble deposits in Carrara was made in around 155 BC. Over the centuries the new material captured the attention of famous artists and patrons of the arts, such as: Nicola Pisano, who went to Carrara in 1256 to select marble for the creation of the pulpit in the Cathedral of Siena; and, later, in 1497, the young Michelangelo Buonarroti, who visited the caves to look for the most suitable marble to use for his Pietà. But it was the 15th century that sealed the great fame of Carrara marble. It was during this period that many artists, such as Donatello, Bernini and Canova flocked to Carrara, choosing its marble to create their great works of art.
The whole history of this region, which has built its fortunes on marble quarrying, swirls around the caves of Carrara. Thanks to the work of many generations of quarrymen, Tuscan marble is now recognised and prized all over the world, a symbol of an entire Italian manufacturing sector.