CARRARA THE CITY OF MARBLE

Carrara, the city of marble, is surrounded by olive-trees against the background of rugged Apuan Alps, it produces each year millions of tons of marble: statuary, bardiglio, paonazzo, fior di pesco, apuano, breccia violetta or medicea.

The city of a two-thousand year-old industry is chronicled for the first time in 963; for three centuries (1442-1741) it constituted, together with Massa, the small state of the Malaspina Family first, and later of the Cybo Malaspinas. The Duomo is a Romanesque-Gothic construction (11C-14C) built in tiers of grey and white marble with a Pisan-style fa├žade, encircled by arches (12C) and adorned with a Romanesque sculptured portal, a small loggia and a Gothic rose-window. On the right, a Romanesque portal, and also of great beauty are the polylychnous bell-tower and the apse. The austere interior is adorned with marble, frescoes (14C-16C) and fine marble statues. The Accademia di Belle Arti is housed in the Cinquecento Palazzo Cybo Malaspina, which leans against the donjon of the medieval castle. On display are sculptures, Roman cippi and notably the Roman altar known as the Edicola dei Fantiscritti. In 1982 the Civic Museum of Marble was established, which documents in five sections the culture and value of marble.

On the cost is Marina di Carrara, a seaside resort and industrial port. Not far from Carrara is the archaeological centre of Luni, with Roman remains and the Amphitheatre, the Temple of Diana, the House of Mosaics and the House of the Frescoes. Local finds are preserved in the National Archaeological Museum. In the Colonnata marble quarries (523 m.), linked by a tunnel to those of Fantiscritti, spectacular marble-producing works may be admired. In 1985 the Parco Naturale of the Alpi Apuane was instituted, which stretches over 54,327 hectares.

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