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Welcome to Carrara, the world's most important place for excavation and manufacturing of marble.

This is my personal page for finding travel information about Carrara and the marble mines, I wish it becomes a useful tourist info point for travelers who like to come to Carrara, visit its marble caves,  know more of the town and its territory.

In this tourist information page you find:

  1. Information about how to get to Carrara.
  2. What to visit in Carrara: the marble quarries, Carrara town center, the sculpture studios, the villages of marble.
  3. gallery of the main types of Carrara marbles.
  4. Download sightseeing itinerary in Carrara and the marble quarries.
  5. What to eat and drink in Carrara relative links to eateries.
  6. Links to museums.

 

Ciao, I'm Umberto Cattani owner of CTTours and licensed tour guide for Carrara, Cinque Terre, and Florence, where I arrange guided tours and excursions. Sometimes travel information about Carrara are not easy to collect on internet: how to get to Carrara, which mean of transport are available to get to the marble caves, what is worth to visit beside the marble quarries, what guided tours are available, what routes to follow if you are coming with your car, what are the local food and wine specialties, and so on.

This kind of Carrara information center aims at providing all those necessary tourist information and maps for making you planning in advance the inclusion of Carrara and the amazing marble mines in the itinerary of your next trip to Italy.
Don't hesitate, do it soon, it's really worth!

Carrara is located right by the sea along the coast of northern Tuscany, its territory stretches from the top of the Alpi Apuane (marble mountains) all the way down to the Mediterranean (Tyrrhenian Sea). In the range of few kilometers, you pass from the wide sandy beaches, through green gentle hills (where good wines and olive oils are made), until the top of the unbelievable marble mountains.

 

 

 

 

Tourist information on how to get to Carrara

Carrara is located strategically near tourist destinations like Lucca, Pisa, Cinque Terre and Florence, and along important communications routes,  all those who are coming to Tuscany  from the north (Europe or Italy) or from the east (Riviera, France, Spain) cannot miss the incredible sight of those white high mountains that stand in the horizon. Here below find more travel information about different ways to arrive in Carrara:

  • By train. Carrara train station is called Carrara-Avenza and is located along the main railway line Pisa-La Spezia. Check here the National Railroad Trenitalia timetable.

  • By car. Carrara has its highway exit that is located along the A12 Genoa-Livorno. From the tollbooth to the marble quarries it's approx. 30/40 min drive.

  • By public bus. Frankly, it's not the best way to reach Carrara, due to the reorganization of Tuscan public transport it's difficult to collect more info. If need more assistance please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • By plan. The three closest airports are Pisa (40 min. drive from Carrara), Florence (1 hr. drive from Carrara) and Genoa (1 hr drive from Carrara).

 

 

Travel information on what to visit in Carrara

Find here tourist information about Carrara, the marble quarries and the rest of the territory. This is a virtual tourist office of Carrara where travelers can obtain more information for coming and visit the area.

 

Carrara marble mines information.

The marble quarries are something unmissable. They are considered the world's largest marble bedding spreading among the three main valleys (Colonnata, Fantiscritti, Torano) that branch out behind Carrara town center. These marble caves are something unique, unbelievable, breathtaking, no pictures can describe the sensation you prove once you find yourself surrounded by these white, overwhelming, bright marble mountains.

They are something unique in terms of geology, and about 2000 years of history, art and archaeology. The ancient Romans rebuilt Rome even with this marble and celebrated their emperors with this marble, Italy's most important museums like Vatican Museums, Rome Archaeological Museum, Uffizi, Accademia, and many others are full of Carrara marble works made by masters like Donatello, Michelangelo, Bernini together with generations of builders, architects, interior designers.

If you wanted to find more tourist information about Carrara marble and the methods of excavation and transportation of marble throughout 2000 years, you could download one of the free itineraries doable with your own car (see below in the page), or book here your private guided tour.

 

The workshops of sculpture. They are the natural completion of the Carrara marble itinerary, here you can watch sculptors at work while creating with hammer and chisel amazing marble statues, in the art studios you also have the opportunity to learn more about methods and tools used for the making of marble works. Most the visitors are welcome but, since they are working places, better send an email or give a call before visiting (see here the list).

 

sculpting class

sculpting class

open-pit quarry Gioia

open-pit quarry Gioia

open-pit quarry

open-pit quarry

minivan by a bench-quarry

minivan by a bench-quarry

Lardo di Colonnata

Lardo di Colonnata

underground quarry2

underground quarry2

Winding-road-to-the quarries

Winding-road-to-the quarries

sculpting class in carrara

sculpting class in carrara

Carrara-marble-quarries-from-up-high

Carrara-marble-quarries-from-up-high

Colonnata-quarrymen-village

Colonnata-quarrymen-village

Sculpting class in Carrara-3

Sculpting class in Carrara-3

carrara marble quarries

carrara marble quarries

open-cast quarry

open-cast quarry

Carving-marble-with-care

Carving-marble-with-care

Carrara marble quarries by minivan

Carrara marble quarries by minivan

coaches up to 1250

coaches up to 1250

the capo directs the operations

the capo directs the operations

underground quarry

underground quarry

Marble-quarrymen-at-work

Marble-quarrymen-at-work

Carrara marble-quarries-overview

Carrara marble-quarries-overview

IMG 8175

IMG 8175

Michele-marble-sculptor

Michele-marble-sculptor

Huge marble face

Huge marble face

road to the marble quarries

road to the marble quarries

studio scultura

studio scultura

Learning-to-carve-Carrara-marble

Learning-to-carve-Carrara-marble

coach long

coach long

 

 

Carrara marbles Gallery (Thanks to I.M.M. Carrara Fiere)

Here below are displayed some samples of marbles excavated in the valleys of Carrara, where is concentrated the highest number of working quarries (approx. 80) in the area and probably in the world. In the same mountain range of Carrara, called Alpi Apuane, are excavated other types of white marbles that are not listed here.

As you easily note, Carrara marbles are basically a white or different shade of white with such a variety of striations, features that together with the huge supply and thousand-year-old knowhow, make Carrara marble the most famous in the world.

01-Bianco Carrara arabescato

01-Bianco Carrara arabescato

02-Bianco Carrara

02-Bianco Carrara

03-Bianco Carrara 12

03-Bianco Carrara 12

04-Bianco Carrara 13

04-Bianco Carrara 13

05-Bianco Carrara 14

05-Bianco Carrara 14

06-Bianco Carrara 17

06-Bianco Carrara 17

07-Bianco Carrara 18

07-Bianco Carrara 18

08-Carrara Calacata

08-Carrara Calacata

09-Carrara Paonazzetto

09-Carrara Paonazzetto

10-Bianco Carrara Statuario

10-Bianco Carrara Statuario

11-Bianco Carrara Statuario Venato

11-Bianco Carrara Statuario Venato

12-Bianco Carrara statuario-Michelangelo

12-Bianco Carrara statuario-Michelangelo

13-Bianco Carrara Venatino

13-Bianco Carrara Venatino

14-Bianco Carrara Venato

14-Bianco Carrara Venato

15-Carrara Bardiglio Imperiale

15-Carrara Bardiglio Imperiale

16-Carrara Nuvolato

16-Carrara Nuvolato

 

 

Carrara town center information

The town of Carrara. Even this is unmissable, because wouldn't exist without its quarries and because it's entirely built of its marble.

Carrara counts approx. 65.000 residents, and spreads between the Tyrrhenian sea and the Alpi Apuane (marble mountains) place where since the Roman age the excavation and processing of marbles were started more than 2000 years ago.

The historical center of Carrara goes back to the X-XI century when in Italy came back to life industries and commerce. The three most interesting monuments are the Duomo (main church) belonging to the XI-XIV century entirely built in marble blocks; the Malaspina castle built and renovated between 1300 and 1600 and by chance built of marble, nowadays houses the Academy of Fine Arts but it is still partly visitable, and Alberica square the Renaissance square of Carrara that belongs to mid 1500-1600.

But the most important thing to remember is that Carrara it's entirely built of marble: houses, palaces, churches, street types of furniture, portals, windows, staircases. Where else around the world?

 

Pretty alley in the medieval side of Carrara

Pretty alley in the medieval side of Carrara

The Duomo

The Duomo

Alberica square

Alberica square

Malaspina castle

Malaspina castle

Carrara balcony of the saving bank

Carrara balcony of the saving bank

Portal of the Duomo

Portal of the Duomo

Del Medico palace in Alberica square

Del Medico palace in Alberica square

Lovely marble decoration

Lovely marble decoration

The rose window of the Duomo

The rose window of the Duomo

Caryatid near Alberica square

Caryatid near Alberica square

The Academy of fine arts

The Academy of fine arts

Portal of Diana house in Piazzetta

Portal of Diana house in Piazzetta

Pluster copy of Davids face

Pluster copy of Davids face

 

Carrara's territory other interesting attractions

The villages of marble they were the ancient settlements where Roman's workforce was living. Codena, Bedizzano, Colonnata, Miseglia, Torano nowadays are very small villages located along the three main valleys and mainly inhabited by quarrymen. Here life flows slowly and the visitor is charmed by the sights over the marble mountains, by some interesting monuments, and by their pleasant atmosphere.

The most famous is probably Colonnata, the village is surrounded by imposing marble mountains, the same kind of marble has been using as a container for seasoning and curing the local food specialty: the Lardo di Colonnata (Slow Food Presidium).

 

 

Sightseeing itinerary in Carrara and marble quarries

If you are individuals, small or large groups, and decided to come visiting Carrara and its marble mines you have two options:

  1. Eager to learn more about the are? Hire a private guide (who I am) for arranging a private tour by coach or my minivans of the marble caves,  or search your favorite tour guide here in the official list.
  2. Just curious independent traveler, download one of the following itineraries in pdf. They describe an itinerary that allows visiting the most important venues of the territory for free, with no charge. Remember that they are suitable only by people with their own car or motorcycle. These itineraries are not suitable for coaches. If you are coming by bus look at this proposal on my website or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Here below find two self-guided sightseeing tours that allow visiting with no charge the most important venues of the territory with your own car or motorcycle only. By bike on holidays only.

3 hours itinerary. Download here - Follow the itinerary on Google maps https://goo.gl/maps/tswzyV15z2H2

6 hours itinerary. Download here - coming soon

 

Marble quarries tours with minivan or 4x4

CTTours di Umberto Cattani - +39 348 7737 715  - www.cavedimarmocarrara.com - Private tours.

Davide Bruni – 4x4 tours - + 39 333 6024026 - www.carraramarbletour.it - Shared tours

Marco Bernacca – 4x4 tour – +39 338 578 3629 - www.cava177.com - Private tours

Manuela Righini – 4x4 tour - +39 328 749 4324 - www.iltau.it - Private Tours

Paolo Maggiani - 4x4 tour - +39 328 018 9464 - www.caveinfuoristrada.it - Private Tours

Paolo Biancardi - 4x4 tour  - +39 347 385 6496 - Private Tours

 

Other sites to visit

www.marmotour.com - +39 339 7657 470 – Guided visit in of the underground quarry (Fantiscritti)

www.cava177.com - +39 338 5783 629 – Guided visit of an open cast quarry (Tarnone)

www.cavamuseo.it - Private outdoor exhibition of tools and equipment used for the marble excavation and transportation.

Official marble Museum - http://giove.isti.cnr.it/museo2/home.php

List of licensed tour guides

 

Museums in Carrara and its province 

Coming soon

 

What to eat and drink in Carrara

In spite of its location by the sea, don't consider Carrara a fish land. The boats were considered mainly the mean of transport for the marble and only after 1800 developed the Marina of Carrara with some fishing activities.

So traditional foods are more related to the quarrymen activity and coming from agriculture and livestock sheep and pigs. That's why the most famous delicacy of the are is the Lardo di Colonnata (Slow Food Presidium): pork's backfat cured and seasoned in a marble basin, served as an appetizer or as the filling of a tasty panino. Colonnata is the quarrymen village where people have been producing lardo in the same way for 1500 years and where find lots of larderie, a kind of snack bars where they make their own lardo and serve it together with other cheeses and cold cuts.

Beside the lardo, other local dishes are: pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), tordelli (stuffed ravioli), lasagne stordellate (pasta with a kind of meat and vegetable sauce), baccalà (cod fish fried, steamed or marinated), stockfish and potatoes (stockfish stew), vegetable pies, porcini mushrooms that grow well in the local chestnut woods, chestnuts with which is made castagnaccio (a kind cake with pine nuts and raisin) or chestnut pasta, chicken or rabbit alla cacciatora with polenta (meat with tomato sauce, black olives and corn polenta), chicken or rabbit fried with vegetables, during the summer it's easy to find also the mussels served steamed or stuffed.

The traditional dessert is Torta di Riso (rice cake) milk, eggs, and a touch of rice. It's not always easy to find: some restaurants, bakeries or groceries. Every village or district of Carrara proudly preserves its own "real" recipe of the Torta di Riso.

Local wines are both red and white and come mostly from the area of Massa (Candia DOC wines) and Luni (Colli di Luni DOC wines) and they all match very well with the foods described above.

For a snack don't miss to try the local street food that is Farinata (chickpea flan), easy to find in pizza by the slice shops, try Farinata plain with a scratch of pepper or as filling of local focaccia.

Here below find the (certainly incomplete) list of main restaurants, eateries and pizza places where traditional foods are served.

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