Sign in

Carrara’s Marble Mountains

  • Carrara’s Marble Mountains

    Tuscany’s northern corner is one of its wildest, strangest and least explored areas from the Versilia coast to a dramatic landscape of pine-covered mountains, craggy ravines. For a drive that explores Massa, Carrara and the elemental Apuan Alps, putting the marble mountains in their true context, see Apuan Alps Foray in our Forte dei Marmi guide. Instead, if you’d just like a sense of the surreal marble industry, then this is the tour for you. The northern coast is overshadowed by the marble industry. Even the beaches are dominated by the majestic marble peaks of the Apuan Alps glittering deceptively like snow in bright sunshine.

    In the Apuan Alps awaits the marble town of Carrara, with several quarries offering guided tours and workshops. Carrara is 34km north of Viareggio so easily reached in around half an hour. The fine-grained pure white marble for which Carrara is renowned has been quarried here since Roman times. Italian medieval churches are decorated with marble from Carrara, and it has supplied artists from Michelangelo to Henry Moore with raw material. Formed from limestone, hardened by great pressure and heat, Carrara marble is still the world’s single largest and most important source of the stone. About 200 quarries are still functioning, while over a thousand have been worked out or abandoned. Since the Parco Apuane has been given national park status, opposition by environmentalists to the speed of extraction has heightened. However, the quarry owners continue to fight back in protection of their tough and fearless employees.

    The marble quarries are scattered across three steep valleys, the Colonnata, Fantiscritti and Ravaccione. Here, the villages cling to the mountainside that has been sliced away like chunks of cheese. The Cava di Fantiscritti quarry makes for a good introduction to marble, as does the strange journey there. You drive through a series of stark tunnels that were used by marble-transporting trains until the 1960s, when trucks took over. En route there are extraordinary views down into the quarries, where precarious-looking staircases are strung across the sides, and massive trucks trundle across the marble surface far below. Once on the guided tour, prepare to be startled by the dank, foggy and slippery marble quarries that are often more like caverns. On display are strange marble blocks that look distinctly unlike the polished perfection of the final artwork. It’s a gritty scene, a world away from the cool, polished face of a marble Madonna in a Tuscan church. You will never look at marble in the same way again.
    Address: Cava di Fantiscritti, via Miseglia Fantiscritti, Carrara: zarezerwuj z Marmotour (+39 339 7657470, lub Cave di Marmo Tours (

Join us


Do you want to receive weekly inspiration, villa recommendations and travel tips from our Tuscany experts?

Find out more

© 1998-2023 To Tuscany Ltd. All rights reserved.

Can we help you?