Few places in the world are as rich in stone history as Carrara in northern Tuscany, Italy.  Located where the Apuan Alps meet the Ligurian Sea, Carrara combines enormous marble deposits with nearby access to shipping on the Mediterranean.  This has made Carrara both a major center for marble quarrying and carving as well as a fabrication center for many other stones from throughout the world.
Marble is limestone that has been heated, compressed and recrystallized into a denser form.  In Carrara, Jurassic-age limestones were compressed and deeply buried during collisions of the African and European plates.  The resultant marbles were later exposed by uplift and erosion of the northern Apuan Alps outside Carrara.
The Romans began quarrying marble near Carrara in the 2nd century BC.  Marble blocks were carted to the nearby port of Luni for shipment throughout the Mediterranean.  In Rome, Carrara marble was used in the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column, and many other structures and sculptures.
Marble production declined after the fall of Rome but picked up again during the Renaissaince.  In the 15th century, Michaelangelo hand-selected blocks of the purest statuario marble at Carrara and had them carted to the coast and then barged up the Arno River to Florence where he carved his David.
Quarrymen (cavatori) and stone carvers (scarpellini) in Carrara have a long history of supporting  radical labor organizations.  Violent revolutionists, expelled from other European countries in the late 1800’s, migrated to Carrara and founded anarchist groups. Carrara is the birthplace of the International Federation of Anarchists.