In this tourist information page you find:
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 plan 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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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?
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).
www.cavamuseo.it – Private outdoor exhibition of tools and equipment used for the marble excavation and transportation.
Official marble Museum – https://giove.isti.cnr.it/museo2/home.php
If you are individuals, small or large groups, and decided to come visiting Carrara and its marble mines you have two options:
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 these proposals on my website or email me.
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.
6 hours itinerary. Download here – coming soon
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.