Marble quaries of the Apuane Alps...
Unmistakeable scars can be seen from the autostrada running along the Versilian coast, the flatlands separating the Mediterranean Sea from the foothills of the Apuane Alps. The only mountain range perpendicular to the Italian peninsula. Often they strike one as enormous agglomerations of Winter's snow. The quarries of the Alpi Apuane. Vertically carved for millenium... legend says they are the oldest industry, pre-dating the Roman Empire by several centuries. The exposed marble bleaches in the sun. The veining of the marble defines its type: Carrara, Calacatta, Staturio and so on. The dust is used as a whitening agent in toothpaste. Far cry from when Michelangleo arrived by mule with a few rudimentary tools and a couple of assistants to search, inspect, select and supervise the cutting of the blocks of marbles. The beginnings of liberating what's held within... a David or, the facings to a pope's tomb in Rome. Michelangelo's biographer believes the artist envisioned a single, enormous figure to be sculpted on site. Obviously, never realised and the failure, apparently, was painful for the rest of the artist's life.
You can visit these quarries. A wonderfully exciting excursion. Bring your nerve pills. Quite a drop on one side of the dirt road seen from an open Jeep. But, you will certainly marvel at what you see. Contact Your Italian Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspiration for this article and imagery credited to La Repubblica newspaper, Milan, Italy.