Itinerary: Pietrasanta, Querceta, Serravezza, Stazzema, Pomezzana
Versilia: the Carrara marble tour
This is a tour to discover the most important Italian area related to the extraction and the processing of marble. This precious material is the basis of an economic activity that follows a great and long-lasting tradition in Versilia, a region that extends from the coast to the hills in the province of Lucca (Tuscany).
In this area, marble has been extracted and worked since ancient times, and its history is especially linked to Monte Altissimo (pic n°1), located near Seravezza in the Apuan Alps and Monte Corchia near Levigliani. It is here, where one of the world's largest and most famous marble quarries is located, and whose marble was chosen by Michelangelo Buonarroti to erect the façade of St. Lorenzo's Church in Florence, among others masterpieces.
Pietrasanta, a nice town with the Alps in its background, is a good starting point for a tour that aims to explore the most interesting villages associated with the extraction and the art manufacturing of the Carrara marble in Versilia. The historic town center of Pietrasanta, the suggestive Piazza del Duomo or St. Augustine's Church is undoubtedly worth a visit. In the "Museo dei Bozzetti" (Bozzetti Museum) (pic n°4), it is possible to linger on an interesting collection of works, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day and made by sculptors and artists from all over the world.
Moving towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, you will cross some nice seaside villages usually crowded with people among them, the most popular one is Forte dei Marmi, whose name comes from the dock where the marble was loaded on ships.
The white marble quarries (pic n°1) of the Apuan Alps (pic n°3), including the above-mentioned quarry of Monte Altissimo or that of Monte Corchia (pic n°2), are easily reachable from Querceta, a small town that lies less than 4 kilometers from Pietrasanta. Querceta is a small area, characterized by ancient traditions and several workshops, where marble workers and artisans produce marble artifacts for customers coming from many countries of the world.
If you want to go in depth of this particular material's processing and the related traditions, you should pay a visit to "Museo del Lavoro e delle Tradizioni Popolari della Versilia Storica" (Museum of Work and Community Traditions of Historic Versilia), located in Palazzo Medici (pic n°6) in Seravezza. This museum is rich in interesting information and artifacts related to the ancient marble-working traditions.
Also, a visit to Milani Ironworks could be an interesting experience. It is a tool shop and workshop located in Pomezzana, a small village in the area of Stazzema, in hinterland Versilia. The ironworks are open to visitors to show them how they build the tools that are necessary to extract the marble blocks from the quarries.
Starting and ending points: Pietrasanta
Length of the tour: 93 km
Some pictures along the Carrara marble tour:
White marble quarry (pic n°1); White marble quarry (pic n°2); the Apuan Alps (pic n°3); Bozzetti Museum (pic n°4); (pic n°5); Museum of Work and Community Traditions of Historic Versilia (pic n°6);