Carrara’s marble quarries and Colonnata
History and taste
Of the local towns, Torano is moon-like, Colonnata is located to the east, Fantiscritti the most suggestive of the villages with its bridges Ponti of Vara where every August an historic re-enactment of the traditional lizzatura takes place, an ancient and extremely dangerous method of transporting blocks of marble down the mountainside takes place. These three places where marble extraction takes place in the Apuan Alps majestically rise behind the city of Carrara. Imposing, shiny white mountains from which marble has been quarried since the pre-Roman era: indeed, well before Romans, Carrara marble was used by the Etruscans and likely by the Ligurians from Ameglia too. Nowadays the marble is extracted and exported throughout the world from this little corner of Northern Tuscany.
Organised guided tours to visit the marble quarries allow an insight into the amazing world of quarrymen and give an insight into the various ancient and new methods of marble cutting and quarrying. Guests staying at Casale Amati can enquire about and have arranged paid tours arranged with expert guides. They will pick you up directly at our casale with authorized jeeps as it is forbidden to enter the quarries without appropriate permissions and the proper equipment. Guides will bring you across a breath-taking journey in a discovery of the most suggestive marble-places where great artists in the past such as Michelangelo and Bernini went to hand pick the perfect marble blocks for their renowned masterpieces. And once you’ve discovered numerous secrets to the marble trade, the picturesque village of Colonnata close by, surrounded by the whiteness of the quarries, is worth a visit. Here the famous lardo di Colonnata is central to all culinary dishes. Secret spices are added to carefully chosen lard and these are placed inside covered white marble basins from Carrara to age and mature for a minimum of six months. Larderie (shops specialising in lardo) are everywhere in town and they often offer appetizing salamis and local cheese products with accompanying jams and honeys. Take a picture beside the monument dedicated marble workers with the extraordinary marble quarries in the background. A powerful monument to the marble quarry workers of today and yesteryear.