Bodo Sperlein

Craft Story: Carrara Marble

Bodo Sperlein
 

'I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city or marble'

- Augustus


Located in northwest Tuscany is the Province of Massa and Carrara. Amongst the Apuan Alps is the vast landscape of Carrara's marble quarries.

 
 

During the Roman period, the extraction was performed manually. Utilising the natural fissures the rock offers, fig wood wedges were inserted and inflated with water until the expansion naturally developed a break from the mountain.

In the 1700's, black powder was used to mine marble. However, it was later found that the deposits of marble were greatly affected by using explosives.   

 

 

By the end of the 19th century helical steel wire and a pulley was used, accompanied by silica sand and a liberal amount of water this became the most efficient means of mining Carrara. It also visually changed the landscape with precisely cut steps known as Piazzali di Cava.

Carrara marble has been used since ancient times by sculptors. Its ephemeral qualities are one of its historical unique features, think of Giovanni Strazza’s 19th Century The Veiled Virgin.

 
 

Yuri Ancarani documents the astonishing accuracy of The Chief's direction of mining this precious natural material in this beautifully shot film.

 
 
 
 

There are several colours of Carrara marble, the cool blue-grey is the variation that inspired our Fine Bone China Carrara collection for Dibbern. Popular with acclaimed chefs such as Brett Graham and Gary Foulkes, this collection brings a little of the Tuscan Alps to your table. 


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