Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World: In Pictures, The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 13

Pisa Map, Google Earth

p r e s e n t s

Colonnata Map 2 Google Earth

Colonnata Map 3 Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

IN PICTURES

Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

Tour 13: Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World

Throughout the duration of my brief but extremely pleasant rest-bite in Colonnata I could not quite shake the feeling that I was walking the streets of a small island village, as opposed to a rather extraordinary hilltop town precipitously perched on the rim of the world famous Carrara marble quarries.     View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, ItalyBut while the views are indeed astonishing,   the compact little town itself is not without interest.   Colonnata, map ofAnd as ‘Bandita’ is the name given to the verdant band of green hillside immediately to the town’s rear, I should imagine that more than a few interesting tales emanate from such a remote and cloistered community.       Italians travel from far and wide to wine and dine on the town’s esteemed reputation for lard.     And once these visibly happy and jovial customers have worked their way through entire lard-centric menus at the many lovely little cafes and restaurants,    they are to be seen gleefully filling their cars with bright, shiny treasured packages of the stuff.    Quite simply, lardo is the be-all and end-all of Colonnata’s commercial core,    and I don’t blame them one bit – as there appears to be a nice solid little business in lard.    Who would have thought?     For me however,   never having developed a taste for lard,   my own personal obsession immediately turned to the surprisingly wide patio,   with its quite sensational front row seating.       Terrace with a view, Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, ItalyColonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, ItalyIn one huge 180 degree arcing curve the eye is met with a vast, unfolding scene that at first is quite difficult to comprehend.     Way,    way up in the clouds…   what at first appear to be tiny little workings   soon,    with the help of binoculars,   turn out to be huge,  massive earth moving operations.        Suddenly the scale becomes apparent,   and then,  at some point or another,   you realize that all this:   everything you can see, if you crane your neck this way and that, up and down, side to side, is but a tiny sliver of what lies just over on the other side of the vast diminishing hill.   For what we are doing here is merely taking a peek.    Soon, however,   we’ll be heading straight into the very heart of the quarry system.      But for now let’s sit back and take all this in;  our first real glimpse of Carrara marble quarrying,   from the comfort of this most unusual,   unexpected and accommodating little town.        We begin our tour way down at the far end of the valley,  close to the city of Carrara.   Along the way we will stop in on one or two roadside attractions and catch a glimpse of our first quarries…. eventually to climb the steep steps up into the heart of old downtown Colonnata and onto a most welcome and dramatic mountain terrace.

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy Lunigiana and Surrounding Mountains, Tuscany, ItalyFor those following this tour in the literal sense of the word: a brief note of caution.    Driving upon these roads can be very dangerous.   Throughout the Carrara marble region huge trucks pound these narrow lanes and woe betide the fool who gets in their way.    No one with a nervous disposition should attempt to drive in the very highest, highly marble truck trafficked mountains…   and only those willing to concentrate every minute spent behind the wheel, will most likely make it out alive.   Marble trucks are huge.    They will crush any car on the road.   Be warned.    Pay attention,    and be prepared to give way at any time,   on any bend,  no matter how hairpin.      However, having said all that – Italian roads are amazing;   snaking, banked turns!    So don’t let me put you off driving these beautiful mountainous regions altogether, but make wise choices: for your own sake, and for the safety of everyone else.    You can read what I had to say upon discovery of Colonnata by clicking on the link below.

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Rogue Carver on the Loose in Italy: Arriving in Colonnata I was immediately impressed by the drama of the place. In fact I found myself slightly overawed by the sight and sounds of quarries busy at work, but the village seemed quite impervious to it all, as if to say ‘you can remove everything, take the lot, but we will still be here when it’s all gone’, because removing ‘it’ they certainly were.   Parking The Bee in the largely empty parking lot I made my way through a series of narrow winding alleyways until I came unexpectedly upon a wide terrace that faced a wall of human activity, as trucks wound their way up and down the impossibly steep looking mountainside forming the opposite side of the narrow canyon.    Way up high there were the unmistakable signs, and sounds, of active quarries cubing out the raw stone into truck-sized slabs, and no matter where I looked; right, left, up or down I immediately recognized the indelible mark of human activity both ancient and modern…more    

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Colonnata Map 5 Google Earth

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Colonnata, map of

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On the Road to Carrara marble Quaries, Tuscany, Italy

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On the Road to Carrara marble Quaries, Tuscany, Italy

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On the Road to Carrara marble Quaries, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarries on the Road to Colonnata

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Carrara marble sculpture courses on the Road to Colonnata

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Carrara marble sculpture courses on the Road to Colonnata

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Carrara marble quarries on the Road to Colonnata

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Carrara marble quarries on the Road to Colonnata

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Carrara marble quarries on the Road to Colonnata

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Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Downtown Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Downtown Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Terrace with a view, Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Terrace with a view, Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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View from Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

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Colonnata, Carrara, Italy

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and now

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Colonnata, Carrara, Italy

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next

North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

Tour 14: The Marble Quarries of Carrara

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