The Marble Mountains
are natural jewels of Tuscany and an ideal destination for nature lovers. These mountains are part of the Apuan Alps
(pic n°2), that has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. It is also part of the protected area called the Apuan Alps Regional Park
, a vast natural reserve, which extends from north-west to south-east between the provinces of Massa-Carrara and Lucca. Here, you can enjoy beautiful alpine landscapes alternated with the green hills of the Apennines.
(Piazza Alberica pic n° 4), an art city that lies halfway between the mountains and the sea, therefore it is a good choice to stay and start from here visiting the area. Carrara has been famous since ancient times for its beautiful marble. Not far from the city you can visit the marble quarries (pic n° 6) where this worldwide-famous white marble comes from. More about Carrara Marble
Leaving Carrara towards the heart of the Marble Mountains you will find Colonnata
(pic n°3), an ancient village famous for his delicious lard (pic n°1). The Lard of Colonnata
(pic n°1) (pic n°5) is recognized as a local certified product, and it features a delicate and crisp flavor, enriched with herbs and spices used in processing. This delicious lard has an irresistible aroma, and it is a must-taste dish!
The special taste and fragrance of this lard are due to its particular processing method: the lard is matured in big marble boxes where producers place alternating layers of bacon and pork, salt and spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, sage, and rosemary.
What was once considered as food for the poor workers in the quarries, is now a delicious dish that can be eaten as a meal in itself with only a slice of warm bread, or as a support to various other delicacies, such as crustaceans, or even with plums, honey, and chestnuts.
This simple food, such as fat is (because the Lard of Colonnata is just pure pork fat), can be wrong nutritionally speaking, but it is so tasty that you cannot resist the temptation! Also, when accompanied by a warm slice of bread and a glass of good red wine from Tuscany, it embodies the true essence of this region.