CARRARA, TUSCANY – Michelangelo’s marbles

Monument to the cavatore, the quarry workers, Colonnata.

Michelangelo carved it, mighty cathedrals are built from it, and it’s tiling bad taste bathrooms around the world.

The prized Carrara marble is prised out of the Apuan Alps by the cavatore, the quarry workers. Guided tours of the marble mines are on offer.

It was quite a drive on a hot day to get there from our base in Bagni di Lucca, but an attractive one, when I could take my eyes off the winding road.

The Apuan Alps. The quarrying is done on the far side.

We had no trouble finding the town of Carrara, but it wasn’t easy to find the Museo del Marmo – a lack of Italian signposts, street names and numbers caught us out again. (Entry EUR4.50.)

Remains of Roman columns at the Museo del Marmo.

While the films (in English and Italian) about the history of quarrying and the Roman artefacts were interesting enough, the details of 300 different types of marble left us a little cold.

Very interesting if you're planning a bathroom renovation.

Better was the explanation of marble carving techniques, ancient and modern.

Sculpture, Museo del Marmo

Better still was the drive up to the marble quarries.

Past villages set in stone

That's a big truck, and the marble blocks are even bigger.

Yet another narrow street - Colonnata.

The village of Colonnata prides itself on its lardo – pig fat. We can only imagine that all the fascinating things a village could be famous for (making silver jewellery or harpsichords, say) had been taken, so Colonnata was left with pig fat.

We bought a pack of the stuff, vacuum-sealed. The last thing you want on the back seat of a rental car with the temperature heading towards 40 degrees is a block of melting fat.

‘Don’t cook it. It’s delicious if you just slice it very thin,’ the lady in the shop told us.

We’ll try doing that…some time when the weather gets cooler.

Lardo di Colonnata. Photo Wikimedia Commons.


Filed under Italy

5 responses to “CARRARA, TUSCANY – Michelangelo’s marbles

  1. There is a little outdoor museum near Colonnata where you can see how the marble workers used to live. It was fairly primitive until very recently. I have the same photo in Colonnata. Lardo has to be sliced very thinly or it is a bit rough.

  2. It must have been freezing up in those hills in winter. They would have needed a nice layer of fat to keep them warm. I think I have a personal layer of lardo. I would be fine.

  3. I really blog too and I’m creating a thing similar to
    this blog post, “CARRARA, TUSCANY – Michelangelos marbles | Richard Tulloch’s LIFE ON THE ROAD”. Do you mind in cases where Imake use of a number of of your personal suggestions? Regards -Galen

    • That pig lardo would go really well on your grill blog, Galen!

      You are welcome to quote anything I’ve posted here. If you do, it is polite to acknowledge me and provide a link back to my blog in your post.

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