Carrara Marble is one of the exclusive natural stones that is often used for home decoration and remodeling. It improves the atmosphere of any room, in which it is introduced and inevitably raises the value of the property. It is known for its predominantly white colour and subtle grey veins, which distinguish it from the rest of the marbles on the market.
Quite often, however, people don't realize that actually there are several types of marble excavated at the Carrara area in Italy, which are referred to as Carrara Marbles. They vary in colouring and veining, depending on the quarry, from which they come.
Main areas of marble excavation in Carrara
Marble production throughout the entire Apuan Alps region is carried out in five main areas [by Meccheri et al. 2007, modified], Source: Litos Online
There are several areas, from which the Carrara marble is excavated. Since only one of them is actually in the Municipality of Carrara, it is more precise to call them Apuan Alps marbles for the purpose of distinguishing between the various types.
The five main areas, as visible on the map above, popular for marble quarrying are the following:
C: Carrara area sensu stricto; North-Western Apuan Alps, municipality of Carrara;
M: Massa area; Western Apuan Alps, municipality of Massa;
L: Lunigiana area; Northern Apuan Alps, municipality of Fivizzano;
G: Garfagnana area; Northeastern Apuan Alps, municipalities of Vagli, Minucciano, Villa Collemandina;
V: Versilia area; Southern Apuan Alps, municipalities of Stazzema, Seravezza.
All these sites are collectively called the Carrara Marble district. Some of the quarries are already almost exhausted, while others have sufficient deposits to provide marble for commercial use for centuries to come.
Main types of Carrara Marble
The most popular types of marble, excavated at the Apuan alps are the Carrara and Calacatta marble, the latter being consider the more luxurious one. These, however, are far from the only varieties coming from the Italian province. Depending on the colour, they can be divided into two larger groups – whiter and more dramatically-coloured marbles. The whiter marbles are more abundant and therefore their production represents the greater part of natural stone quarried in Carrara.
There are no two slabs of marble that look exactly the same, so it is safe to say that each type has its own sub-types, that are quarried at only one or two particular places. In other words, the main feature by which you can recognize Carrara marble, is not its colouring but the place of its origin and its exquisite quality. You should know that this is the best stone for you, since it incorporates beauty with longevity and durability.
As per the research of Dr. Piero Primavori, there are seven main types of marble, quarried in the Carrara Area. These are:
1.Marmo Bianco Carrara (White Carrara marble)
2.Marmo Venato (Veined marble)
3.Marmo Bardiglio (Bardiglio marble)
4.Marmo Nuvolato (“Cloud”-like marble)
5.Marmo Arabescato (“Arabesque”-like marble)
6.Marmo Statuario/Statuario Venato (Statuary marble/Veined statuary)
7.Marmo Calacatta (Calacatta marble).
The name of each stone usually reveals a lot about its particular appearance. Calacatta and Carrara are the whitest of all marbles, while Bardiglio is the darkest, having dense gray shades. Naturally, there are sub-divisions of each type depending on the shade of the stone or density of its veins. It is interesting to know, for example, that Calacatta marble has wide veins that vary in shades from pale gray through yellow-gold to green, brown and even purple.
There were also some other types that are either already worked out or exist in very small quantities that they won't make it to the stores any more. Such an example is the Zebrino marble – striped marble resembling the appearance of a zebra. It consists of thicker white-yellowish layers, mixed with thinner grey-greenish ones, thus having the look of the African animal.
The other two types of stone in Carrara
Source: Litos Online
There are two other sub-varieties of marble, quarried in the broader area of Carrara. These are the so called Breccias and Chipollini. According to most listings of marble types they are described simply as other, more exotic varieties of Carrara marble. In the publication "Different Varieties of Marble from Carrara", however, Dr. Piero Primavori, a freelance consultant on natural stones, classifies them as two slightly different types of stone.
Brecia is a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock cemented together by a fine-grained matrix that can be similar to or different from the composition of the fragments. The Seravezza Breccias are the ones excavated in the area of Carrara, more precisely in the Seravezza inland, southern Apuan Alps. Due to the presence of various minerals, the slabs of this natural stone come in a great variety of shades and nuances. Seravezza Breccias were quaried at several places in the past but now their beds are almost worked out.
Chipollini, also known as Chipollino marble, derives its name from the Italian word cipolla meaning onion due to the look of its layers and veins. This type of marble is usually whitish or yellowish with green, grey-green, grey and reddish-brown nuances and veins. It is quarried in the areas of Garfagnaga, North West Apuan Alps, and Versilia, South Apuan Alps. Luana and Fantastico Arni are the most popular and unique types that can be found on the market.
To wrap up, we can say that the Carrara area in Italy gives us one of the best types of marble in terms of aesthetic features and qualities. No doubt, Carrara and Calacatta are the most famous of all and naturally preferred for decoration all around the house. If you are not sure which is the right Carrara marble for you, you can always visit our shop or contact us and we will gladly assist you with your choice.