Italy - Tuscany - Apuan Alps -

Apuan Alps 1

LINKS to other pages in the Italy website and the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

Home Page
1 : Barga
2 : Pisa
3 : Lucca
4 : Portovénere
5 : Florence
6 : Siena
7 : Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
8 : Apuan Alps
9 : Guest Book:


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In the Apuan Alps the spectacular marble quarries offer an evocative sight. The precious stone has been excavated since Roman times. Since then, it has been used for all sorts of different purposes: from the simple objects to more famous works of art and architecture. In the past the blocks of marble were carried to the plain with an ancient manual technique called “ Lizzatura”.

The winding road from Castelnuovo to Massa passes through wild mountain scenery and leads first to a dam and reservoir a short distance from the commune of Isolosanta.

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Reservoir and dam near Isolosanta (above, right and below)

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An old road bridge between Isolosanta and the marble quarries (above)

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The chain of mountain crests stand out clearly and impressively on the Appennino. The landscape largely remains intact in spite of the extensive quarrying. The quarrying of the marble here dates back to the 2nd century BC and in the Roman times the work was carried out by slaves and convicts. The excavation decreased during the late Middle Ages but increased again in later years.

In the first half of the 16th century Michelagelo came frequently to Carrara to choose the stone for his masterpieces. Over the centuries the marble of Carrara has been recognized as a desirable stone for buildings because of its variety of colurs (bardiglio, paonazzo, fior di pesco, cipollino, arabescato etc.).

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The main problem in the Apuane is combining the mining activities with the preservation and the safeguard of the protected area. Almost 300 quarries situated within the national park and although the produce a significant income and are of cultural and historical interest they are at the same time a serious threat to the integrity of the landscape not only for the quantity of material which is extracted every year (around 1.5 million of tons of stone and over 2 million of tons of crushed stone), but also for the negative impact on the surroundings, for the pollution of the water bearing layer, and for the traffic of heavy means of transport.   (left and below)

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We take a walk through the now abandondoned Henhaux mine (left and below)

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A memorial to the construction workers who lost their lives while bulding the road, with all its embankments and tunnels, from the plain up to the mining sites in the mountains (below)

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The visit to the Apuan Alps continues on the next page.
Please click on the 'Next' button (lower right).

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