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Marble Itineraries in the Province of Lucca

Two days to discover the pearls of Versilia, between landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Thanks to its important marble quarries, the Province of Lucca has attracted excellent artists, from Michelangelo to Canova, who helped shape these places.  Here you can visit the city of Pietrasanta and proceed to discover Levigliani di Stazzema, that leads to the mountain for the marble itinerary in order to become acquainted with the natural resources of the area and discover where and how the Apuan marble is extracted.

“THE HOLY STONE” ITINERARY"

The entire day is dedicated to visiting Pietrasanta and surrounding area, industrial centre for the production of marble.  Local firms, gifted with the unique know-how in the field of stone processing, export the marble throughout the world.
Among the finest masterpieces created include the “9/11 Memorial” in New York, the Shard London Bridge, the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower in Miami and the mosaic floors in the British Museum.  Botero and Mitoraj have chosen this for their home and shop.  From its marble quarries, within its workshops and galleries, many personages have passed by such as Moore, Cascella, Yasuda, Folon, Pomodoro, Mirò.  At times an artist can be met in the foundries, committed to shaping bronze, or dining in a restaurant, intent on eating pappa al pomodoro or scarpaccia, faccaccia sweet or savoury typical product of Pietrasanta.  Many contemporary sculptures are on display, donated to the city by internationally renowned artists.

  • In the morning you can visit some companies active in the processing of marble, such as:
    Degl'Innocenti Marmi, production company of stone for inlay work of great value;
    Menchini Guido & F.llo, company that produces made to measure flooring and covering for internal and exterior stairs.
    Then there is the possiblity to visit some famous laboratories, such as:
    the laboratory of Galleni Massimo, excellent sculptor, able to create marble masterpieces without a model, but simply by using a photo or a drawing.  A simple idea of a client can become a unique work of art;
    the Mariani Fonderia Artistica, a firm able to create high quality products in bronze, silver etc;
    Cervietti Franco & C, the most important sculpture studio in Pietrasanta, houses one of the largest galleries of plaster casts in Italy, with century old casts, including original casts belonging to Michelangelo, Canova and Bernini.

  • The afternoon could be dedicated to the discovery of the city centre of Pietrasanta and its cultural offer.  Walking in the centre of the city is like visiting an “outdoor” museum, and you can admire:
    the Museo dei Bozzetti, located in the Chiostro di S. Agostino (Cloister of St. Augustine).  Inside the Museum there is a large collection of “bozzetti” (“masquettes”) linked to famous contemporary artists;
    Musa (Museo Virtuale della Scultura e Architettura di Pietrasanta) (Virtual Museum of Sculpture and Architecture – Pietrasanta), territory, quarries, mining and excavation, treatment of materials, the companies and the foundries are the protagonists which give life to Musa in its dual dimension, real and virtual.

  • During the evening Pietrasanta is able to meet all the needs of the modern tourist, with the organisation of events, characteristic pubs, discos and classical music concerts in the Cloister of St. Augustine.

ITINERARY “THE MARBLE MOUNTAIN”

The second day is dedicated to the discovery of Levigliani di Stazzema, small village above Versilia.  Here you can find important quarries which are still active, such as “Tavolini”, active since the Roman period, and “Piastraio”, situated on Monte Corchia, both managed by "Cooperativa Condomini Levigliani", one of the most important players in the history of the work of the co-operative of the postwar period.  The types of marble extracted are: Corchia venato (Corchia veined marble), Corchia Arabesque and Corchia Skyros.  The marble extracted is used worldwide.  Examples include the Monumento al Milite Ignoto (monument to the unknown soldier) in Baghdad, the interior covering of the Vittoriale, decorative works in the Vatican City, the Jinming and Wudere hotels in China, the Alcora Hotel in Seville or the BMCE Bank in Casablanca.

  • In the morning, the starting point is Piazza Barsottini in Levigliani, from where you can head towards the quarries on Monte Corchia, and underground to discover the famous "Antro del Corchia",  its 70 km being the most important underground complex in Italy and one of the largest in the world.  In 2001 the cave was opened to the public, who can now visit the inner areas along a route equipped with gangways.
    You can then aim either by car or with the shuttle bus towards the "Miniere dell'Argento Vivo", one of the oldest quarries in Tuscany.  Here you can become a miner for an hour, wearing a helmet and following the guide along the way.  The most common minerals that you can find are cinabro (cinnabar) and pirite and one of the features is the presence of mercury in its native state.
    After the visit, the shuttle bus takes visitors to the Piazza (Square), from where you can easily walk to the numerous restaurants for lunch.

  • In the afternoon, you can resume with a visit to the Levigliani museum centre, composed by the Parco delle Alpi Apuane Regionale "Pietra Piegata" Museum, which contains documents and testimonies of the culture of marble, ornamental stones of the Apuan Alps, and the Comunità ed Impresa "Lavorare liberi” Museum that preserves the history of Levigliani and the mining companies most closely linked to the development of the Community.  All the museums are located in the historial centre, within easy walking distance.
    The Co-operative also offers groups of at least 20 persons the possibility to take part in a presentation of its territory.  You will learn, through videos, images, stories, history, evolution of mining techniques from active quarries, giving way to interaction during and after the presentation, lasting a couple of hours.

  • On the return you can admire "Palazzo Mediceo" in Seravezza built by Cosimo I dei Medici and today is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It houses the Museum "Museo del Lavoro e delle Tradizioni Popolari della Versilia Storica", the result of years of research that led to the collection of about 2,000 objects, testimony of the traditions and principle activities of historical Versilia.

Useful Information

For further information on itineraries visit:

http://www.marbleroutes.eu/regions-and-marble/lucca-italy

https://it.pinterest.com/musapietrasanta/

In the area you can also visit Carrara:
http://www.italia.it/it/idee-di-viaggio/natura-e-paesaggio/carrara-la-perla-marmorea.html

How to get there

By train
www.trenitalia.com

By air

Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport is 20 km from Lucca