This mine has produced more marble than anywhere on Earth

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Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bernini and Rodin all sourced their marble here

Located in the Apuan Alps in northern Italy, the Carrara Marble Mines have been making marble for over 2,000 years and reach a height of 1500 metres above sea level.

The quality of the creamy white marble has made it a popular resource for Italian art for thousands of years. First constructed by the Romans to build their most prestigious monuments, the site became a favourite in the Renaissance period. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bernini and Rodin all sourced their marble here.

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By the 19th century, the terrible working conditions of the mines made Carrara a cradle of anarchism in Italy. “Working in the quarries had been hard and dangerous and continues so to this day,” says Bernhard Lang, the photographer behind this image. For this reason, the mines were a source of beauty and violence for Lang.

In September this year, Lang visited the mine. “Flying over the mines, the white and creamy marble stone emanated a bright charisma,” says Lang. “The mountains where the marble quarries are located are quite close to the sea and beaches near the city of Viareggio, which is popular for it’s innumerable seaside resorts”.

“You could already recognise the hardly eroded mountains right from the beach,” he says.

“The Carrara mine displays quite well the guiding idea of my work,” says Lang, “which is to display the transformation, sometimes destruction, of nature, caused by human impact”.

“At the same time, there’s often this surprisingly formal beauty or pleasant order in these transformations.”