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Buy Carrara Marble

From the Taj Mahal to Versailles, marble has a long and rich history of being used in the finest spaces in the world. Add your home to the list of beautiful spaces enhanced by the elegance of marble tile. Classic white marbles are as timeless as ever, but there are more colors, finishes and coordinating pieces than ever before that enable you to make your look your own.

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Carrara marble, Luna marble to the Romans, is a type of white or blue-grey marble popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It has been quarried since Roman times in the mountains just outside the city of Carrara in the province of Massa and Carrara in the Lunigiana, the northernmost tip of modern-day Tuscany, Italy.

More marble has been extracted from the over 650 quarry sites near Carrara than from any other place. The pure white statuario grade was used for monumental sculpture, as "it has a high tensile strength, can take a high gloss polish and holds very fine detail".[1] By the late 20th century this had now run out, and the considerable ongoing production is of stone with a greyish tint, or streaks of black or grey on white. This is still attractive as an architectural facing, or for tiles.

In the Middle Ages, most of the quarries were owned by the Marquis Malaspina who in turn rented them to families of Carrara masters who managed both the extraction and transport of the precious material. Some of them, such as the Maffioli, who rented some quarries north of Carrara, in the Torano area, or, around 1490, Giovanni Pietro Buffa, who bought marble on credit from local quarrymen and then resold it on the Venetian market, were able to create a dense commercial network, exporting the marble even to distant locations.[3] Just to cite an example, starting from 1474, first the Maffioli, then the Buffa, supplied the marble for the facade of the Certosa di Pavia, also taking care of the transport of the material which, by ship, after having circumnavigated Italy, reached the construction site of the monastery after having sailed up the Po and the Ticino by boat.[4] Starting from the 16th century, Genoese stonecutters-merchants also entered this flourishing trade.[5]

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the marble quarries were monitored by the Cybo and Malaspina families who ruled over Massa and Carrara. The family created the "Office of Marble" in 1564 to regulate the marble mining industry.[6] The city of Massa, in particular, saw much of its plan redesigned (new roads, plazas, intersections, pavings) in order to make it worthy of an Italian country's capital.[7] Following the extinction of the Cybo-Malaspina family, the state was ruled by the House of Austria and management of the mines rested with them. The Basilica of Massa is built entirely of Carrara marble and the old Ducal Palace of Massa was used to showcase the stone.[8]

By the end of the 19th century, Carrara had become a cradle of anarchism in Italy, in particular among the quarry workers. According to a New York Times article of 1894, workers in the marble quarries were among the most neglected labourers in Italy. Many of them were ex-convicts or fugitives from justice. The work at the quarries was so tough and arduous that almost any aspirant worker with sufficient muscle and endurance was employed, regardless of their background.[9]