Since the copper age, and especially during the Roman Empire the white marble quarries of Carrara has been used to extract the precious white marble for the construction of important buildings, mansions, and art craft. Today is still used for some of the richest man in the world that wish to adorn their luxury villas, yachts and important building all around the world.

In all the Apuan Alps above Carrara you can count more than 650 quarry sites, but half of them are abandoned or worked out. This is the place in the planet with the most intensive production of marble in the world, and it is recognized as the capital of extraction and processing of marble.

What makes the white marble quarries of Carrara unique?

There are many things that make that places unique in the world. Here are seven reasons:

view marble quarries of Carrara

1. What is Carrara marble made of?

Considering the mineralogy and chemical aspects, the marble here is a rock that results from a metamorphosis of sedimentary carbonate rocks at 99% which makes it the purest on his category, Carrara marble is made of pure calcium carbonate. Having a crystalline structure, it is perfect for the use in architecture and sculpture.

composition marble quarries of Carrara

2. The environmental scenario

If you are passing through Carrara during summer, and you look at the mountain, you’d be uncertain if what you see is snow. Of course is not, it is the white marble that is shining under the sun. And if you decide to do a visit to the quarries, you will be surrounded by a lunar scenario, where everyday workmen risk their life, fighting with the nature to extract the precious white gold.

white marble quarries of Carrara from Colonnata

3. Michelangelo’s favorite marble

Michelangelo, one of the Renaissance Master, went directly to the white marble quarries of Carrara, to choose the blocks to sculpt his most famous artworks, such as the Pietà kept in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. One of his wishes was to sculpt directly into the mountains facade an enormous sculpture, that would have been visible by all the ships coming from the sea. Something similar to the Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, that unfortunately has never been realized.

Michelangelo Pieta St Peters basilica white marble quarries of carrara
Photo Credits: Juan M. Romero

4. James Bond set for 007 Quantum of Solace

The white marble quarries of Carrara have been often used as set for many advertising or movie, but the most popular in the world is “007 Quantum of Solace”, by Marc Forster with Daniel Craig which is driving the famous Aston Martin through the hazardous hairpin turn.

5. Lardo di Colonnata

The storage and curing of the Lardo di Colonnata is unique as unique is the white marble from the quarries of Carrara. The marble mould is made of a specific type of marble that comes from one marble-cutter, called Canaloni, in the village of Colonnata. It is considered the best for curing the Lardo.

Lardo Colonnata White marble quarries of Carrara
Photo credits: Gramulin

6. What is Calacatta Marble?

Calacatta Marble is a type of marble which comes from Carrara quarries. Its characteristic is that has grey veining, and it is generally used as countertop.

7. How much does cost a marble countertops?

A Carrara marble countertop could cost € 113-€226 /$125-$250 per square meter/foot.

If you get interested in this article I recommend you to read also “Carrara and its White Gold”. More article regarding how to visit and what to do at the white marble quarries of Carrara will follow shortly.

Cover Photo Credits: Simone Moracchioli

16 thoughts on “The white marble quarries of Carrara

  1. Abhinav Uniyaal says:

    This is a good to know information, the James Bond scene is definitely a good addition to this post along with the sculpture from Michelangelo’s

  2. Divyanka Krsna says:

    Great information about this Capital of extraction and processing of marble. Never get to know so much about marbles.

  3. Chloe says:

    I would question that the marble was snow eleven in the hotter months. Thanks for sharing
    the fascinating facts about the marble.

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