Carrara

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Most people think of beautiful white marble when they hear the name Carrara and that is not surprising. The high-quality marble has its origin in the Italian city and from here began its triumphal march around the world.

Wherever a building or house is to be equipped with high-quality white marble by a builder or artists want to work creatively with this wonderful material, the decision usually falls on marble from this wonderful city in the Massa-Carrara Province. Numerous important works of art history were made using this special material, such as Michelangelo's David, the chapel in the cathedral of Florence and the leaning tower of Pisa.

However, many people do not know that this name also means a beautiful city at the foot of the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany, which is absolutely worth a visit.

Where is Carrara located?



The marble city that has much more to offer than marble

Marble quarry near Carrara
Marble quarry near Carrara

If you take a closer look at the Tuscan city and its culture, you quickly realize that it is an absolute failure to associate this place only with marble. The unique mountains that can be found here and are littered with white spots fascinate visitors to the city again and again and have inspired many an artist to create a new masterpiece.

In addition to this beautiful area, it is above all the pleasant climate and the cuisine that make many people visit Carrara again and again once they have been here. The city's residents are also considered extremely friendly and approachable, which makes a stay particularly pleasant, as you can come into contact with the locals very quickly.

The sights in Carrara

- You shouldn't miss these highlights

Even if this special little town only has 62.000 inhabitants, the great sights in particular make the hearts of many tourists beat faster, and for good reason. We would now like to introduce some of these to you in more detail:

Cathedral Sant'Andrea Apostolo

The absolute heart of Carrara is the Cathedral of Sant'Andrea Apostolo, built between the 12th and 15th centuries, and that is not surprising, because it is not only extremely lavishly designed, both Lombard and Tuscan style influences can be found here , whereby the ornamented components are particularly noticeable. Unlike the rest of the building blocks used, these were not carved from Carrara marble.

The interior of the cathedral is designed a bit more simply, but still impresses with its unique look, which of course also dominates marble. On the forecourt you will also find the beautiful Fontana del Gigante, a fountain that was crowned by Admiral Andrea Dorian Gray in 1559 but unfortunately not completed.
Other impressive churches that are also located in the center are the 17th century Chiesa di San Francesco and the 16th century Chiesa del Carmine, in which there is a sculpture by Bartolomé Ordóñez.

The Carrara Academy of Fine Arts

Another highlight in Carrara not to be missed when visiting this city is the Accademia di Belle Arti, which is located near Piazza Alberica. This includes both the fort and the palace of the Cybo. The former was built in the 13th century and, in addition to its military use, was used as the residence of the prince-bishops.

A severe earthquake in 1920 caused the building to be almost completely destroyed, but reconstruction was successful. The academy now houses several lecture rooms as well as a large library and an extraordinary art collection, which also includes numerous plaster models and original sculptures by the art students.

The unique art collection is second to none and will by no means only delight the art lovers among the visitors, which is why you should definitely take the time to marvel at it.

The Casa Repetti

The Casa Repetti is a stone house that was also built entirely from Carrara marble and can be found in Via Santa Maria. This unique building, which extends over three floors and has three rows of windows and columns in the Genoese style, was probably built at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century.

A special highlight is the facade, on which there are numerous building blocks in the shapes of animals and plants that have been designed with particularly great detail. A famous resident of this magnificent building was supposedly Petrarch and this extraordinary building was also used as the city's first town hall.

The Carrara Fractions

Once you are in Carrara, it is of course also part of the program to visit the quarries where the famous marble is quarried. In the past, everything was actually done by hand here, but now you can find large machines with which the marble is knocked out of the rock so that it can then be further processed. Here you have the opportunity to book small or larger tours and to be provided with all the interesting information about marble.

The weekly markets and festivals of Carrara

A wonderful pleasure that you definitely shouldn't miss when visiting the Tuscan city is a visit to the weekly market.



When is the weekly market in Carrara?

This takes place every Monday in Piazza Gramsci. However, if you don't go out on Monday, you have the opportunity again on Thursdays in the Marina di Carrara to indulge in the wonderfully colorful hustle and bustle and indulge yourself with culinary delights.

Another highlight in even years is the Biennale di Carrara, thanks to which the city is dominated by exhibitions, discussions and lectures on the subject of marble and art from June to October.

In addition, numerous sculptors open their studios in August and let enthusiastic visitors watch how the works of art are created step by step and how much craftsmanship is really behind them.

For those who prefer something a little more enjoyable and perhaps more cheerful, the Festa della Birra is an absolute recommendation, where the beer flows freely and numerous different types and brands can be tried.

Conclusion

There are numerous reasons why you should visit the northern Tuscan city and the numerous sights, the friendly and warm nature of the residents and the artistic design of the old town are just a few of them.

Last updated: 06.02.2024

Images courtesy of Megan Andrews on Unsplash and stasal

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