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Toscana - Places to Visit - Carrara

Carrara is situated 100 m. above sea level at the foot of the Apuan Alps (Mount Pisanino 1,945 m.), near the confluence of the Carrione and Gragnana torrents, approximately 7 km. from the Tyrrhenian coastline.

Carrara in Toscana

Of medieval origin, in 963 it was given by Otto I to the Bishops of Luni. Carrara later belonged to the Pisans, then, from the start of the 14th century, was ruled first by the Lucchese, then by the Genoese Republic and by the Scaligeris and Viscontis.

In 1442 it became part of the Malaspina lands (Duchy of Massa and Carrara), sharing the fortunes of nearby Massa. Today the two cities form a single Province.

Monuments: Duomo (Romanesque-Gothic, 11th-14th century, covered with marble, housing precious works of art), Palazzo Cybo-Malaspina (16th-18th century, Academy of Fine Arts), church of Carmine (17th century).

The economy of Carrara has for centuries been linked with the mining of the precious Carrara marble in the Apuan Alps, and is one of the world's major centres for marble production and exportation.

The port of Marina di Carrara handles almost exclusively marble. Other industries here are engineering, textiles and chemicals. In summer there is also considerable tourist movement at Marina di Carrara.

Carrara in Toscana

Events: Annual Marble Machinery Fair, held with other commodity fairs which alternate in the Fair area.

Famous People: Pellegrino Rossi (politician, 1787-1848), Pietro Tacca (sculptor, 1577-1640), Pietro Fontana (sculptor, 1787-1858), Pietro Tenerani (sculptor, 1789-1869), the Bergaminis (family of sculptors, active in the 16th-18th centuries).

Cultural Institutions: Academy of Fine Arts, with art gallery, Teatro degli Animosi, School of Marble, National Marble Exhibition (conserving the dicola dei Fantiscritti' sculpted Roman pagan altar, found in the cave of the same name.

In the Province: see under Massa.

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