Carrara is a city and comune in the
province of Massa-Carrara
(Tuscany, Italy), famous for
the white or blue-gray marble quarried
there. It is on the Carrione
river, some 100 km west-northwest of Florence.
Its motto is Fortitudo mea in rota
(Latin for "My force is
in the wheel").
Settlements in the area are known since the 9th century BC
, when here the Apuan Ligures
lived here. The current town
originated from the borough built to house workers in the marble
quarries created by the Romans
their conquest of Liguria in the early 2nd century BC. In the
Middle Ages it was a Byzantine and Lombard possession, and then
belonged to the bishops of
and the Malaspina family
turning itself into an autonomous commune 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
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.
last Malaspina, Maria
, who had married Ercole III d'Este
became part of the Duchy of
After the short Napoleonic rule of Elisa
, 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
the municipalities of Carrara, Massa and Montignoso were merged in a single municipality, called
In 1945 the previous situation was
Carrara is the birthplace of the International Federation
(IFA), formed in 1968.
- Cathedral (Duomo,
- 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
- 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
- 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
A Carraran marble quarry.
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, such as Michelangelo's David, were carved from Carrara marble.
Michelangelo at least, Carrara marble was valued above all other
stone, except perhaps that of his own quarry in Pietrasanta. The Marble Arch in London and the
Siena are also made from this stone.
statue to Robert Burns which commands a
central position in Dumfries was carved in Carrara by Italian craftsmen working
to Amelia Paton Hill's
Carrara marble exploitation
It was unveiled by future UK Prime Minister
, Archibald Primrose, 5th
Earl of Rosebery
on 6 April 1882.
In addition to the marble quarries
city has academies of sculpture and fine arts and a museum
of statuaries and antiquities. The local
marble is exported around the world, and marble from elsewhere is
also fashioned and sculpted commercially here.
An international stone and machinery exhibition, CarraraMarmotec
, takes place in Carrara.
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
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”.
Monte Sagro and nearby quarries.
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 - Sister cities
Carrara is twinned