Tuesday, August 14, 2012

White Gold

A peek-a-boo view of the white mountains
When we come to Italy we are in the Massa-Carrara area.  Yes, the place where Carrara marble comes from.  Yet in all these years we have not visited the quarries.  I have to admit I am not a fan of heights so this has been the deterrent, but for some reason for this trip I became brave.  We drove up to the Fantiscritti valley to take a tour of the inside of a working quarry.  (The other two main valleys are called Colonnata and Ravaccione, in fact Ravaccione is where the marble of the David statue was dug.)  The setting inside was absolutely another world, "lunar" could describe it.  In fact the mine hosts photoshoots, fashion shows and concerts.  It was quite cold inside, 16 C, but apparently the temperature remains constant all year.

The mine entrance, the company was called I love Marmo, you can see more here: http://www.marmotour.com/marble-quarries.htm
Everywhere you look is marble, as you are literally inside the mountain
Because mining is taking place also outside on top of this inside mine, four pillars for stability always remain in place

A recently cut block, value approximately 60-80,000 Euro

One of the bars near the mine entrance
We walked to the nearby village of Colonnata, that is famous for lardo
Colonnata view of of the marble mountains
As we were trying to find our way to the center we spied this iconic view

You can see in the image the entrance to a "larderia"
If you have been wondering what lardo is, this is it, basically salted pig back fat sliced extremely thin for panini.  Now panini literally is any sandwich not just the toasted one we think of in the US.  

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