The mountain of marble itinerary
Introduction to the itinerary
The day is devoted to the discovering of Levigliani di Stazzema, a small village in the upper Versilia. Here you will learn about the natural resources of the area and find out where and how the Apuan marble is extracted. In fact, in the area you can find important active quarries such as “Tavolini” and “Piastraio”, located on the Mount Corchia. The first one has been active since the Roman period and it’s one of the most important quarries of the area. Both are managed by the “Cooperativa Condomini Levigliani”, main actor of one of the most important history of cooperative work of the post-war period.
A PLUS - Marble: from quarries to art works
The types of marble extracted today by the Cooperativa Condomini are: Corchia veined marble, Corchia Arabesque like and Corchia Skyros. The marble extracted in Levigliani has been used all around the world and has reached all continents. Some example of art works are the following: the Monument to the Unknown Soldier in Bagdad (Irak); Vittoriale internal coverings (Gabriele D’Annunzio historical abode in Gardone Riviera - Italy); decorative works in the Vatican City (Rome – Italy); Hotel Jinming (Fujian – China); Hotel Wudere (Beijing – China); Alcora Hotel (Seville – Spain) and BMCE Bank (Casablanca – Morocco).
The following itinerary can be done in all seasons. In case of adverse weather conditions visits could be cancelled or postponed.
Starting point: Levigliani, Piazza Geremia Barsottini
Quarries in Levigliani are located on the Mount Corchia. In the subsoil of it, you can start your visit discovering a phenomenon worldwide famous both from spectacular and scientific point of view: the “Antro del Corchia”. The Antro is, in fact, the most extended karts subterraneous system in Italy (70 km) and one of the largest in the world. In 2001 the grotto has been opened to the public that could visit, following a path equipped with boardwalks, the most internal areas of the cave.
In addition, or as an alternative to the “Antro”, you can visit the “Miniere dell’Argento Vivo”, one of the most ancient of Tuscany. The mines are very close to the Antro and can be reached by car or by the shuttle bus. One of the peculiarity of the mine is the presence of mercury at native state. The most common minerals that you can find here are cinnabar and pyrite. Here you can become a miner for an hour, wearing the helmet and following the guide along the route.
After the visits, the shuttle bus will take you back to Piazza Geremia Barsottini in Levigliani. From here you can easily reach on foot all the options indicated for lunch (5 minutes) except La Capannina restaurant (7 minutes by car).
You will have the opportunity to make a guided visit to the museum system of Levigliani: the museum of the Apuan Alps Regional Park “Pietra Piegata”, which contains documents and testimonies of the culture of marble and ornamental stones of the Apuan Alps and the “Museo di Comunità e di Impresa Lavorare liberi” which is a genuine community museum conserving the history of one place: Levigliani in Stazzema. "Lavorare liberi" traces, also, the history of the mining enterprises most closely connected to the development of the Community of Levigliani. It has been inaugurated on the 5th of October 2008, exactly 50 years later the arrival of the first Arabesque-like marble block signed CCL1 (Comunità Cooperativa Condomini), carried from Tavolini quarries to Piazza Geremia Barsottini in Levigliani.
All museums are located in the historical centre, in via IV Novembre, and could be reached easily on foot from piazza Geremia Barsottini.
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR GROUPS (minimum 20 people)
Presentation of the Levigliani Cooperative System at the Circolo Ricreativo Operaio. The presentation will explain the peculiarities of the Cooperativa Condomini, its history and current activities. The Cooperativa Condomini bases its work on the special relationship between citizens and their cultural heritage, in a way that brings history to life. The presentation, through videos, pictures and stories will show the evolution of extraction techniques during the years and active quarries. In addition, senior and youth quarrymen will describe their experience and links with the territory, included the stories on environmental issues and related events. Visitors could have the possibility to interact with the speakers during and after the presentation, that will last 2 hours.
For your free time during the evening, please visit the Leisure section
On the way back to the highway you can admire in Seravezza the “Palazzo Mediceo”. The palace, built by Cosimo I dei Medici, is nowadays a UNESCO world heritage and hosts the “Museo del Lavoro e delle Tradizioni Popolari della Versilia Storica”. The museum, opened in 1996, is the result of years of field researches that led to the collection of nearly 2.000 objects, testimony of the main and traditional activities of Historical Versilia. The activities related to the excavation and production of marble are illustrate in rooms 8, 9 and 10.