Carrara Marble Quarries: In Pictures, The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 14

Pisa Map, Google Earth

p r e s e n t s

North West Tuscan Way, Carrara Big Map 1 Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

IN  PICTURES

Carrara Marble Quarries Carrara Map 2 Google Earth

Tour 14: The Marble Quarries of Carrara

Carrara Marble Quarries Carrara Map 4 Google Earth

With an industry so large, in a region of high unemployment,  what effects the marble industry essentially effects everyone.  Consequently the pictures you are about to see reveal scenes that provoke intense opinions on both sides of what is the region’s most hotly contested issue.    However it is important to note that throughout my time in North West Tuscany I don’t recall a single person who argued the point that no marble whatsoever should be quarried.    At the crux of the issue is the undeniable fact that 21st Century marble industry techniques now facilitate the extraction of material in volumes, and at a pace,  unimaginable to previous generations:    ‘The mountains are shrinking’,    ‘we now extract fifty times the amount of marble than we did 50 years ago”.      Quite obviously a solution must eventually be found – under a banner, or common cause,  behind which all can unite;  one based firmly upon sound financial principles;   along with wise, sustainable stewardship of the land.        As a ‘Direct Method’ sculptor I can tell you that each precious splinter of this most wondrous material is a gift from the gods!        As a ‘master craftsman’   in the Walter Gropius Bauhaus Manifesto sense of the word,   I believe there most definitely is another option to simply crushing such beautiful stone.      For all those millions of pieces of “junk” marble there are sculptors such as I,  living all over the globe,   who can and will carve them into fine art sculpture.       Surely a solution that turns cast-off rubble into unique sculpture,  and one that creates income…   while at the same time promotes a 21st Century environmental stewardship of the land….  at least deserves a little further scrutiny.       It would of course be a pleasure to explain and expand upon my ideas to anyone with a professional,  local,   or environmental  interest in the matter of marble quarrying and processing.
Carrara Marble Industry, Tuscany, Italy

Not wishing to dwell or focus upon the divisions discussed above but we begin our Carrara marble tour as would anyone wishing to visit the quarries.    As the maps above clearly indicate the slabbing industry operates scores of processing plants in the level, sandy ground leading down from the hills.  From here the rough blocks are cut, processed and shipped off to the nearby harbor for distribution to ports around the world.

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It would be as wrong to ignore these industrial landmarks as it would be to fixate upon their presence.   And so,   if you ever wondered,  as did I,  just what the world renowned Carrara Marble Quarries look like,  you’ve definitely come to the right place.   Today I take you way,  way   (and I mean WAY) up into the belly of the beast… where we’ll slip back in time for an atmospheric black-and-white glimpse into the marble quarrying practices of times gone by.    We’ll then head ever further upwards as we vie for the perfect viewpoint (camera P.O.V as located on the maps) -the ideal spot for getting to grips with the sheer scale and  immensity of the scene.      Hopefully these pictures manage to  capture something of the vastness of the scene,  but also serve to showcase the phenomenal skill and expertise these hardy Carrara quarrymen posses.     Not much room for error here!

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  For those following the North West Tuscan Way  in the literal sense – do yourself a favor and book a  jeep tour –   there are loads of them.     Please,    just this one time on the North West Tuscan Way,   do not attempt to tackle these phenomenally dangerous roads yourself !      I could explain that,   as a former professional driver,   I felt safe in my handling,  and confident in my judgement skills,   to attempt this tour by car.      But there you go:     Rogue Carver on the Loose,   and all that.      Please bear in mind too that these quarries have been worked almost continually for around two thousand years.      Remember those bas relief oxcarts  so vividly depicted when we toured Forte dei Marmi?     Well,   this is where all those huge block originated.           To read my thoughts, opinions,  observations and assorted ramblings   please click on the link below.   Thank you,  and please enjoy your tour.

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Rogue Carve on the Loose in Italy:      By now the afternoon was growing a little long in the tooth and so I gently navigated The Bee back along the winding road to a crossroads that pointed me in the direction of a ‘Cave’ that seemed to promise a glimpse into the tantalizing world of Carrara marble quarrying, and so I began the long and very winding trek up to one of the many giant sized holes in the ground that surround the city giving its name to the the world’s most famous stone.        Up and up I went, never knowing if or when some officious looking person would demand that I immediately turn around and head back in the direction from whence I came, but fortunately no one appeared, and so up and up I went.     Round and round an endless series of hairpin bends, on and on, higher and higher, until at last it came as some surprise that I had arrived right in the crucible of the action – right at the heart of a huge, gargantuan quarry!     Immediately I tucked The Bee into a roadside recess and awaited the arrival of the inevitable flashing light vehicle of authority  , but it never came.     I’d made it, no one seemed to care whether I was there or not… and then I remembered   –   I was in Italy            At first I couldn’t quite believe the sight that presented itself. It took quite some time to grasp the scale of the operation. Everywhere I looked there were quarrymen at work, everywhere the noise of heavy stone being shifted, drilled, loaded and otherwise disturbed echoed through the air – I’ve never heard a sound like it before and I doubt I will again, unless I repeat the experience. The noise was quite unbelievable – huge and terrible like thunder, deep and resonant – I could feel it in my bones.      Bear in mind that this is just one of the huge quarries that loom above the city of Carrara……more

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Carrara Marble Quarries Carrara Map 5 Google Earth

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Carrara Marble Quarries Carrara Map 6 Google Earth

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Carrara marble quarries on the Road to Colonnata

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry hospital, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Earth Moving Trucks, Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Earth Moving Trucks, Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara marble quarry, Tuscany, Italy

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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Carrara Marble Quarries along the North West Tuscan Way

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and now

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Carrara Marble Quarries Map 7 Google Earth

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Carrara marble quarry Tuscany, Italy

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

La Spezia Marina, a Grand Detour from the North West Tuscan Way

Tour 14, A Special Detour:

La Spezia, Italian City for All Reasons

coming soon !

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