Carrara, dominated by the Malaspina castle, has an ancient history, but even today to speak about Carrara means to speak about its many quarries and its marble, so precious and unique as to be called “white gold”, and to attract artists and powerful people both in the past and in the present.
The magic of the huge quarries opens up like a vision. One enters the heart of the mountain itself, and can touch the raw material that inspired such artists as Michelangelo and Canova. The landscapes around are lunar, and the visitor will find a pick up excursion inside the mountains truly fascinating.
The rugged Alpi Apuane in the background of Carrara and its seaside are also ideal for excursions on feet or on horse. The Apuane, with their grey rocks overlooking the sea, are a naturalist’s delight. One finds great panoramas and meadows, rare flowers and plants, and karstic rocks, all ideal for climbing and speleology. The region called Lunigiana, at the foot of the mountains, the Tosco-Emilian Apennines, offers an uncontaminated nature and the possibility of interesting excursions. There are many charming, time-forgotten villages on top of the hills, like Fosdinovo and its castle (with a ghost!), dominating the Valley of the river Magra, and the plain of the ancient city of Luni. It’s an old borderland between Liguria and Tuscany, and between the sea and the mountains, and one can breath it in the air. One can go higher up the mountains and reach the typical “borgo” of Colonnata, whose name derives from its being an ancient “colony”, a place where those employed in the quarries used to live.
But Colonnata’s main attraction is its lard, the “lardo di Colonnata”, a very particular cold cut, found exclusively here, with a unique taste due to the seasoning in marble basins. Its flavour is very fragrant but the taste is delicate, and it is best savoured in very thin slices laid on the local white bread, slightly toasted. One can thus join a visit to the white, impressive quarries on the sides of the mountains with a unique excursion in taste.