Carrara is a city of 60,000 people (2020) in Tuscany that is famous for its marble. The extraction of marble in Carrara has been documented since ancient times. Today's city of Carrara, located at the foot of the Apennines, was founded in the 11th century and marble quarrying resumed in the 12th century. Over the centuries the city of Carrara has expanded towards the sea, where today most of the population is located. Starting from the 19th century, the village of Marina di Carrara was built on the seashore as a summer resort. Marble quarrying and processing is still the dominant industry.
Take the A12 highway and exit at the Carrara toll booth.
- 1 Carrara-Avenza station. along the Genoa-Pisa line managed by RFI
- 1 Palazzo Cybo Malaspina (Ducal Palace). It is a complex of buildings consisting of an early medieval castle to which a stately palace was added in the Renaissance period. The Castle (or Rocca) has very ancient origins and was built on previous fortifications perhaps dating back to the Byzantine-Lombard period. The Renaissance Palace was added in 1519 and enlarged by his son Alberico I in 1557. The Castle-Palace became the seat of the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara in 1806, making it one of the oldest in Italy and in Europe. The building still presents itself today with two distinct views: the west and south-west sides show a characteristic Renaissance architecture, corresponding to the more recent Prince's Palace, while the east side still retains the ancient medieval style of the original castle.
- 2 Antica Città di Luni (Luni Museum and Archaeological Zone), Via Appia 9, Luni, ☏ . Tu-Sa 08:30-19:30 (last admission 18:30), Su 08:30-14:00 (last admission 13:00). Includes an amphitheater and the National Archaeological Museum of Luni. €5, reduced €3, under 18 free, free on 1st Su of each month.
Squares and streets
- 3 Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). It has a trapezoidal shape and is surrounded by medieval buildings which were restructured and enlarged several times in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, such as the elegant and decorated (internally and externally) Baroque palace of the Sarteschi counts on the west side, the old rectory on the south side (still in Gothic style on the ground floor), the house where Michelangelo Buonarroti lived on the north side almost as a continuation of the south side of the Cathedral in Romanesque-Gothic style. Between the "Buonarroti" house and the apse of the cathedral, the "new" sixteenth-century rectory can be glimpsed with frescoed walls and the bell tower, consisting of a square-plan tower with a marble structure, surmounted by an octagonal spire whose model can almost be found identical in bell towers which are scattered along the, i.e. Comacini masters) of cathedrals that descended from the north of France, crossed the Savoy region, overcoming the historic passes of the Western Alps (Lanslebourg, Aosta) touching Liguria (Lavagna, Genoa) until arriving in Carrara, the historic place of excavation and processing of stone.
- 4 Piazza Alberica (Alberica Square). The square owes its name to Alberico I Cybo-Malaspina, who had it built in the seventeenth century close to the city walls, which he himself had built with a second layout (1557-1637) to include the growing urban expansion.
- Via Alberica. Via Alberica was born in the 16th century as a rationalization of previous routes and as a connection axis between the Piazza del Mercato (now Alberica) and the Palazzo del Principe. Running parallel to the southern stretch of the sixteenth-century city walls, it was supposed to connect the gates on the sea side but remained short. Elegant 18th-century palaces of the old Carrara nobility overlook it. Towards Piazza Alberica, on the mountain side, there was the magistrate's court.
- 5 Piazza Antonio Gramsci (also locally called "Piazza d'Armi"). In the centre of the square stands a majestic fountain with a ball which, pushed by the motion of the water, performs a rotary motion; it was sculpted by the American Kenneth Davis in 1979 with the help of the artist Mario Fruendi with marble from the Polvaccio quarry.
- 6 Piazza Garibaldi. A singular triangular-shaped space, next to the Animosi theatre. It connects in shape and size to the square in front of the theatre so that the two spaces become elements of a single singular square. The arrangement was made by Eng. Leandro Caselli in 1887. In the center is the monument to Garibaldi.
- 7 Piazza Erbe (Herb Square). Historical site of the food market.
- 8 Duomo di Carrara (Cathedral of Carrara). Distinguished collegiate mitered abbey of Sant'Andrea Apostolo. Dating back to the 12th-15th century, built largely with local building materials, as is customary.
- 9 Church of the Suffragio. Begun in 1688 on a project attributed to Innocenzo Bergamini, it was then remodeled in the 19th century.
- 10 Church and convent of San Francesco. It dates back to the beginning of the seventeenth century, when Carrara was governed by Carlo I Cybo-Malaspina. Since the 19th century, the convent has changed its destination several times. The convent is now home to the Sculpture Museum.
- 11 Chiesa del Carmine (Carmelite Church). Dating back to the 17th century, it houses a Madonna and Child by Bartolomé Ordóñez.
- 12 Chiesa della Madonna delle Lacrime (Church of Our Lady of Tears). It has an altar by Francesco Baratta.
- 13 Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie at Lugnola. Consecrated in 1676, it was designed by Alessandro Bergamini.
- 14 Civic Museum of Carrara Marble, Viale XX Settembre 85, ☏ . Museum dedicated to the production and processing of marble in the Apuan Alps .
Events and festivales
- CarraraMarmotec: International fair of marble and technologies for its processing.
- Carrara Festival
- Marble Weeks: Marble exhibits and installations are arranged throughout the city edit
- Solemnity of San Ceccardo: July 16th. Patron of the city.
- Solemnity of Our Lady of the People: Second Sunday of May and third Sunday of November. Patroness of the historic centre.
In Carrara there are numerous shops selling marble items, such as sculptures, statues, busts and tombs.
- 1 Hotel Exclusive Carrara, Viale Cristoforo Colombo, 57/63 (in Marina di Carrara), ☏ , fax: . Hotel & wellness centre 150 m from the sea. Rooms range from basic to luxury. Apartments available.
- 1 Equi Terme's spa, ☏ . Equi Terme is located close to one of the most majestic peaks of the Apuan Alps, Pizzo d'Uccello, perched on a steep hill that you just rock. The north wall of this mountain, famous among mountain climbers, seems to want to protect the small village in Lunigiana, pleasant, mysterious, full of atmosphere that only inhabited places for a long time can give: His cave, a veritable natural spectacle, gave evidence in the light of ancient presence, its marble quarries have employed hundreds of people and its spa were appreciated by the ancient Romans.