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Marina di Carrara

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Marina di Carrara

For other uses, see Carrara (disambiguation).
Comune di Carrara
quarries which are the white markings on the mountains.
Location of Carrara in Italy

Coordinates: 44°04.75′N 10°06.00′E / 44.07917°N 10.10000°E / 44.07917; 10.10000Coordinates: 44°04.75′N 10°06.00′E / 44.07917°N 10.10000°E / 44.07917; 10.10000

Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Province Massa and Carrara (MS)
Frazioni Avenza, Bedizzano, Bergiola, Bonascola, Castelpoggio, Codena, Colonnata, Fontia, Fossola, Gragnana, Marina di Carrara, Miseglia, Nazzano, Noceto, Sorgnano, Torano
 • Mayor Angelo Zubbani (PSI)
 • Total 71 km2 (27 sq mi)
Elevation 100 m (300 ft)
Population (31 May 2008)
 • Total 65,491
 • Density 920/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Demonym Carraresi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 54033
Dialing code 0585
Patron saint San Ceccardo
Saint day June 16

Carrara is a city and comune in the Province of Massa and Carrara (Tuscany, Italy), notable for the white or blue-grey marble quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, some 100 kilometres (62 mi) west-northwest of Florence.

Its motto is Fortitudo mea in rota (Latin for "My force is in the wheel").


There were known settlements in the area as early as the 9th century BC, when the Apuan Ligures lived in the region. The current town originated from the borough built to house workers in the marble quarries created by the Romans after their conquest of Liguria in the early 2nd century BC. Carrara has been linked with the process of quarrying and carving marble since the Roman Age. Marble was exported from the nearby harbour of Luni at the mouth of river Magra.[1]

In the Middle Ages it was a Byzantine and Lombard possession, and then, it was under bishops of Luni, turning itself into an city-state in the early 13th century; during the struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, Carrara usually belonged to the latter party. The Bishops acquired it again in 1230, their rule ending in 1313, when the city was given in succession to the Republics of Pisa, Lucca and Florence. Later it was acquired by Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan.

After the death of Filippo Maria Visconti of Milan in 1477, Carrara was fought over by Tommaso Campofregoso, lord of Sarzana, and again the Malaspina family, who moved here the seat of their signoria in the second half of the 16th century. Carrara and Massa formed the Duchy of Massa and Carrara from the 15th to the 19th century. Under the last Malaspina, Maria Teresa, who had married Ercole III d'Este, it became part of the Duchy of Modena.

After the short Napoleonic rule of Elisa Bonaparte, it was given back to Modena. During the unification of Italy age, Carrara was the seat of a popular revolt led by Domenico Cucchiari, and was a center of Giuseppe Mazzini's revolutionary activity.

At the end of the 19th century Carrara became the cradle of anarchism in Italy, in particular among the quarry workers. The quarry workers, including the stone carvers, had radical beliefs that set them apart from others. Ideas from outside the city began to influence the Carrarese. Anarchism and general radicalism became part of the heritage of the stone carvers. According to a New York Times article of 1894 many violent revolutionists who had been expelled from Belgium and Switzerland went to Carrara in 1885 and founded the first anarchist group in Italy.[2] Carrara has remained a continuous 'hotbed' of anarchism in Italy, with several organizations located openly in the city. The Anarchist marble workers were also the driving force behind organising labour in the quarries and in the carving sheds. They were also the main protagonists of the Lunigiana revolt in January 1894.

In 1929, the municipalities of Carrara, Massa and Montignoso were merged in a single municipality, called Apuania. In 1945 the previous situation was restored.

Carrara is the birthplace of the International Federation of Anarchists (IFA), formed in 1968.


As a titular Duke of Modena, the current holder of the title of "Prince of Carrara" would be Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este.

Main sights

  • Cathedral (Duomo, 12th century).
  • Ducal Palace (also Palazzo Cybo Malaspina, 16th century), now the seat of the Fine Arts Academy. Built over pre-existing Lombard fortification, it dates to the reign of Guglielmo Malaspina, becoming in 1448 the permanent seat of the dynasty. It includes two distinct edifices: the Castello Malaspiniano, dating to the 13th century, and the Renaissance palace, begun by Alberico I in the late 16th century. Under the medieval loggia are exposed several ancient Roman findings.
  • Baroque church and convent of San Francesco, built in 1623-1664 by order of Carlo I Cybo-Malaspina.
  • Church of the Suffragio, begun in 1686 under design of Innocenzo Bergamini, and refurbished in the 19th century. The façade has a large marble portal in Baroque style, sculpted by Carlo Finelli and surmounted by a bas-relief with the "Madonna and the Souls of the Purgatory".
  • Palazzo Cybo-Malaspina
  • Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie alla Lugnola, consecrated in 1676 and designed by Alessandro Bergamini.
  • Church of Santa Maria Assunta, at Torano. It has a 16th-century façade with a portal from 1554. The interior is on a nave and two aisles.

Economy and culture

Carrara marble has been used since the time of Ancient Rome; the Pantheon and Trajan's Column in Rome are constructed of it. Many sculptures of the Renaissance were carved from Carrara marble.

In addition to the marble quarries, the city has academies of sculpture and fine arts and a museum of statuaries and antiquities, and a yearly marble technology fair. The local marble is exported around the world, and marble from elsewhere is also fashioned and sculpted commercially here.

Derivation of name

The word "Carrara" likely comes from the ancient term "Kar" (stone). Ancient Romans quarried the marble, loaded it onto ships at the port of Luni and took it to Rome. According to Saint Girolamo, the name Carrara derives from “car” which means "wagons" and from “iara” that means "Moon", so is the “City of the Moon on the Wagons”.

Another hypothesis (Repetti) is that the term is derived from the French “careers”, which in turn is borrowed from “carrariae”, a Latin term meaning quarry. Carrara may derive from a preroman term : “kair” (Celtic) or to one from Liguria: “kar”, that means "stone" and therefore: “car+aria” meaning “place of stones”.

Twin towns

Carrara is twinned with:

Famous Carraresi


External links

  • Official website
  • Marble Quarry in the Massa and Carrara region
  • Magazine, March 1893, pp. 273-275.
  • "The Carrara Marble Industry," Scientific American Supplement, May 17, 1902, pp. 22045–22046.
  • , February 1903
  • Landsat 7 photograph of Carrara marble quarries in August 2001
  • The New York Times
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