The Apuan Alps are home to the so-called Italian white gold, that is marble.
In this picturesque scenario, the Carrara marble caves tell the story of country, between nature, art, culture and design, a piece of history later appreciated all over the world and over the centuries.
Apuan Alps: The link between history and marble
The importance of white marble, precisely extracted from the Apuan Alps, dates back to very ancient times: just think that Etruscan people used this material to build their luxurious mansions and public works.
To make great white marble, later on, the Romans came into play, using it to embellish the private and public buildings of the capital city, and much more. If the Greeks were the masters of marble sculptures and architecture, the Romans were certainly no less. In fact, over the following centuries, marble has continued to play a major role in Italian history, becoming the chosen material for numerous great artists (first and foremost, Michelangelo) to create iconic masterpieces, religious sculptures, and also decorative works.
Today, just as yesterday, it is used for the construction of some of the most important architectures and sculptures in the world, besides being widely used and appreciated in the world of design, as well.
Apuan Alps and marble caves in Carrara
The caves located in the Apuan Alps’ marble basins are a highly suggestive view, and the most famous ones can be found in Torano, Fantiscritti, and Colonnata. People can visit those thanks to guided tours that take you through the former Marble Railway and beautiful landscapes made of tunnels dug into the rocks, bridges, and breathtaking panoramas unfolding one after the other; otherwise, it is possible to get to the caves by car or motorbike, following the route that from Carrara takes to the marble basins.
Right here, you have the chance to have a closer look at the beauty and the extraction mechanisms of Carrara marble, Michelangelo and Canova’s favorite material, just to name a few artists who, over time, have been able to appreciate the incredible qualities and unique fascination of a stone whose beauty and elegance make it ideal for any purpose and matchable with any style, yesterday as well as today.
Apuan Alps and museums
We’ve mentioned the magical spots and viable paths that lead to the caves and let us find inspiration in the beauty of the Apuan Alps. However, there’s another way to discover the history and unique features of this rich and special glimpse of the landscape. There are different institutions, in fact, that, through stories, testimonies, collections and sculptures, allow us to get to know the millennial history of the Italian white gold.
One of the most famous ones is the Cava Museo Fantiscritti, located in the heart of the Carrara caves, in the white field of the namesake marble. Through an immense collection made of sculptures, full-scale works and findings, it is possible to discover the history of the ancient craft of scavengers. At the doors of Carrara, there is also the Parco della Padula, a huge green garden hosting a permanent exhibition of the works created by several artists during the 2002 Carrara International Sculpture Biennale.
Last but not least, the Carrara Marble Civic Museum. Among findings, sculptures, equipment, and documents, the museum gathers the most complete and fascinating collection related to marble to witness and emphasize the important link between the city and this local and global heritage.