Marble is such a unique type of natural stone that it can be used both indoors and outdoors and has many applications around the house: from fabulous accent walls, to gorgeous marble bathrooms or statement kitchen islands.
There is a great variety of types and colours of marble but one stands out as being preferred for buildings and constructions since ancient times. This is the famous Carrara Marble quarried in the Alpuan Alps, the province of Tuscany, Italy.
Origin and extraction of Carrara Marble
The quarries where Carrara marble is excavated have been in exploitation for more than 2,000 now and yet, according to the experts, there is still sufficient quantity of high-quality marble to supply the industry for many centuries to come. The output of the quarries in recent times is about 200,000 tones annually and it goes to cover the needs of Italy and Europe, with most of it also exported to the United States. It is amazing that there are about 600 quarries in different locations that are actually in operation at present. Of these about the half are located near the town of Carrara, 50 are near Messa and the rest are in the vicinity of Messa.
The history of Carrara Marble is long and interesting. This type of marble was used even back in Ancient Rome but gained its popularity mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries. At that time the families of Cybo and Malaspina ruled over Carrara and Massa and were in charge of the marble mining industry.
It is interesting that the techniques used to excavate the marble at the Carrara quarries are almost the same as they were centuries ago and are a bit different to those applied in other quarries. This is due to the fact that the different kinds of marble are not layered but rather blended with one another. The blocks are divided from one another by little sandy coating. Another curious fact is that the marble exposed to the sun is much harder than the stone laying in the shade, which is finer and softer.
Due to the different metallic substances contained in the natural stone, marble slabs are veined, spotted, marked or speckled and there are no two pieces that are completely alike. There is a great variety of marble obtained from the Carrara quarries but it is mainly classified into three types: brecciati, bardigli and bianchi. The first type is more "fragmented" and is used mainly for decoration. The second type has delicate veins, medium hardness and is of greyish colour. It is used for indoor projects. The third type of marble is the most sought after and the most luxurious and expensive stone of all due to its white colour and excellent qualities. It is used for sculptures, indoor and outdoor projects.
Carrara and Calacatta Marble: Same place of origin, different stones
Actually, there is more than one type of marble excavated at the famous Carrara quarries. There are two kind of stones, however, that have gained most popularity and are loved by homeowners. These are Carrara Marble and Calacatta Marble.
There are many similarities between the two stones and yet quite a few differences. Both marbles are similar in outer appearance – they can be described as white with grey veining. In addition to that they are both quarried at the same place – Carrara, Italy. The difference comes in the intensity of the white and the type of veins.
Carrara marble is grayer and has softer and more subtle veining. The veins are more defined, smaller and linear in appearance.
Calacatta marble is pure white and has more dramatic veins, which are less precise, free-flowing and are sometimes compared to a spider web. It is much rarer than Carrara marble and is hence more expensive and considered to be the luxurious choice for a home renovation.
How to use Carrara Marble at home?
If you want to boost the status of your home, then you should go for marble for your next home upgrade. This beautiful stone is suitable for all rooms in the house and can be used with the same success outside as well – as garden furniture or accessories. In order to make a statement with your new decoration, we recommend Carrara marble tiles. Here is what you can use this gorgeous stone for:
- Kitchen floors, walls, backsplashes, countertops or islands
- Bathroom tiles and bespoke vanity tops
- Accent wall in the living room or in the bedroom
- Frame for the fireplace in the family room
- Floor tiles for the entryway or the mudroom, if you have any
- Columns to divide a large room into specific areas – for cooking, eating, relax, etc.
To add style and elegance to any room you can also create a stunning mosaic pattern using polished Carrara diamond mosaic tiles that can become the focal point of the space. You can also choose a marble slab to place it atop your favourite table and thus turn it into a unique piece of furniture.
When it comes to Italian Carrara Marble, the usage is limited only by your imagination.
Interesting: Carrara Marble Quarries Tour
If you have already fallen in love with this beautiful stone, we recommend visiting its famous quarries in Tuscany, Italy. There are many organized tours to the Alpuan Alps and the city of Carrara, which allow you to have a look at the magic of nature. It is a truly unique experience that will allow you learn a lot about the history and functions of the quarries, the politics associated with the excavation and trading of Carrara marble and perhaps sense the inspiration, that great artist such as Michelangelo experienced centuries ago.
To sum up, Carrara Marble is one of the finest stones that you can find on the market. It is suitable for a great array of projects and will make any place more distinctive with its presence. Despite being a bit expensive, it is thoroughly worth the investment as it will serve you for decades. There is also the possibility to find special offers or clearances and get hands on this beautiful stone at quite a reasonable price.