Sunday, December 23, 2007

Carrara - land of marble, and marble

Leaving behind some of the chilly weather we traveled north to Carrara, famous for its white statuary marble. Carrara is actually very near the sea which faciliated the transport of its marble. As we approached the town here's the view we got.....mountains of white marble in the distance. As you can see, there are blocks that are being cut out of the side.

Soon we came across marble cutting plants, statue-carving studios and all other manner of marble-related industries. Here's one of the transporting docks with trucks being loaded up with big blocks of marble.

Check out the size of that chunk.

Here are more blocks, all labeled, awaiting shipment. Look at the size of the two men for reference.

Carrara was quarried by the ancient Romans, and has remained in use until today, making it the oldest industrial site in the world in use today. This is an ancient Roman bridge that spans a gap between two mountains, which is still travelled on today. We drove over this bridge.......

...and into this tunnel, carved out of the solid rock in the mountain. Carrara's mountains are composed of solid marble. The marble doesn't exist in veins like coal does, the entire mountain is pretty much a big chunk of marble.

We visited a small outdoor museum on the other side, which displayed these Roman hammers which were found.

After the marble blocks are blasted loose they are stacked along side the road, waiting for transport down the mountain.

After we had visisted the quarries we went down into the town where we visisted this famous sculpture company called Nicoli. They have done some of the famous monuments and reproductions around the world including the reproduction of Michelangelo's David that is in Florence. This is a block of granite (also quarried near Carrara) and shows some of the sculpture methods used to shape the rock.
Augustin standing in front of a vast assortment of plaster models and marble statues.
Here, a fellow is explaining a sculpture technique to us, using pins placed in a model to calculate the size of a larger replica.
These are the reference pins placed in the model. The sculptor takes measurements from three pins, with respect to another one, to know the distance each pin on the replica should be from one another.
After saying thanks to the sculptors we headed out of Carrara to Pisa, catching this view of the mountain in our rear-view mirror. As you can see, half of the mountain has been stripped of trees, exposing the white marble below.

1 comment:

The Saint's said...

Land of Marble. Was the Vatican built by the marble on that mountain? It kind of looks like the mountain Michelangelo (Charlton Huston in, "The Agony and the Ecstasy") worked on and where he got the material to sculpt his statues.