Friday, January 7, 2011

Carrara's Marble Mines

I first learned of Carrara marble as a child in 1964 when I visited the New York World's Fair and saw Michelangelo's Pieta statue which was said to be carved from the marble. His famous statue, David, was also carved from Carrara marble. From a distance, it appears that these mountains on Italy's west coast are snow-capped but as you come closer the gashes in the mountains exposing the white and blue-gray marble become apparent. This marble is used all over the world not only for statues and monuments but for bathrooms, kitchens and floors as well.

Signs indicate the many dangers on the road ahead as you approach the quarries. You would have to drive slowly just to read the sign. We visited on Christmas day and had the entire area to ourselves.

A series of tunnels were especially spooky as the only light was from our headlights and it was "raining" inside the tunnels:

A bulldozer and a tunnel reminded us that not all of the mining had been from the surface. It was unclear how much marble has come from such tunnels.

A retaining wall of white marble protects the road:

I'm not sure what these gorgeous pieces of marble will be used for or where in the world they will go but they look quite artistic already:


  1. *sigh* now I want a marble mountain ;) It's amazing to see how much effort goes into creating something like your counter or floor no?

  2. You made me laugh. Thanks. And, yes, we should appreciate the effort to create a marble countertop or floors and cherish whatever marble (or granite or quartz or wood) might be in our care. The idea that someday we could possibly throw these marble or granite or quartz countertops away for some new fashion is an awful thought. I you haven't seen it already, click on my sidebar link to "The Story of Stuff," under "Good Ideas for Living." It's a great presentation.

    Again, thanks.