Along the Apuan Alps, in Tuscany, there are the Vie del Marmo, a long and fascinating path in which marble is the protagonist. The Romans called it marble of Luni, from the name of the mysterious population that inhabited this strip of land wedged between the sea and the mountains, between Tuscany, Liguria and Emilia. History, art and rediscovery of ancient values: this and much more we can find in an environment that knows no epochs. Today, marble is used in various sectors of building renovation, particularly in the bathroom renovation.
Journey to discover the Marble Ways along the Apuan Alps, between art and flavors
The beating heart of marble processing has always been the city of Carrara, a town nestled between the beauties of Versilia and the Apuan Alps. Walking through the city you can immediately breathe an atmosphere of times gone by and every little alley that runs through hides precious marble creations that leave tourists breathless from all over the world. These paths are highly sought after by interior design and architects, always looking for unique materials for the renovation of houses or bathrooms.
Carrara miners have been keeping the secret of the most ancient and mysterious trade ever: the extraction of marble, considered the most loved white gold ever. Just follow the marble path that leads from Carrara to Colonnata to savor the flavors of other times. Marble cathedrals that shine in their grandeur and bridges suspended in the void where the marble railway passed. A colossal mountain eaten piece by piece by man. The vegetation is poor, has little land where to grow, the houses are small things, squeezed between the edge of the river and the blocks of marble: down there, far away, the sea glitters like a promise. The more adventurous can enter the quarries open to the public, such as the Fantiscritti, an amphitheater excavated in the heart of the mountain, or the quarry of the Piana, which according to tradition inspired Dante to view Hell.
Among the active quarries there is also the Cava of Michelangelo, located in the Bacino del Polvaccio, it is in this place that the great master carefully chose the marble blocks used to create marvelous works such as the Pietà.
The journey can only end in a breathtaking landscape between mountains of marble and scenarios that leave you speechless, and then reach the small town of Colonnata. The Monument to the quarryman is the nerve center of the town, where tourists and inhabitants gather to admire and remember the ancient craft, but you can find pretty glimpses with souvenir shops and for the most gluttonous ancient trattorias where lard is served, among the most valuable and famous in the world.
An ancient craft
Once upon a time how were the marble blocks extracted to transport them downstream? Have you ever wondered how Michelangelo managed to get those precious blocks that gave life to his great works famous all over the world?
Today the technology has allowed the introduction of machinery such as cranes, bridges and trucks with which this hard work is facilitated and the necessary safety measures have been taken for the safety of the workers. At one time, however, the processes were different, more strenuous and without the help of large machinery.
This ancient practice owes its name to the lizze, the beams that were used to transport the marble blocks downstream. The large marble boulders once detached from the walls were roughed out to give it a squarer shape and easier to handle. Once extracted, the blocks were placed on a sort of sled, formed by many lizzas that allowed the adherence of the block and the descent of the marble. Operations were carried out to ensure the fixing and stability of the marble blocks and thus prevent possible tragedies during transport.
The sled was then maneuvered and controlled through solid hemp ropes tied to piri, solid wooden poles anchored to the ground, and traversed the slope slipping on the walls, wooden beams placed perpendicularly to the path, which allowed the blocks to flow more easily Once the loading area was reached, the marble block was transported by carts and then trucks to reach the area of interest.
A long, arduous and often dangerous path for the miners of the past that has marked history since ancient times until the 60 years of the twentieth century. A job that put a strain on human strength and could last long hours or even days.
An event not to be missed by the citizens of Carrara and the many neighboring countries, but also an opportunity for tourists passing through that territory, is the re-enactment of the lizzatura, the ancient technique of extracting and transporting marble blocks. Every year, in fact, at the Fantiscritti quarries near the bridges of Vara, in the summer, this ancient craft is relived thanks to the Carrara Lizzatori Company. The event, now known throughout the area, not only represents the memory of the past, but wants to highlight a trade that has always been in the shade and to which the right value has never been given.
Often the marble becomes a carrier of our home. It is possible to search for professional suppliers via the web. Important to understand the type and costs. The house becomes functional only if we know how to use it. Request a quote it always helps to understand if one's dreams of change are useful and functional.
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