48 marble quarries at risk of being shut down as part of new Tuscany Region environmental plan


The debate over what to do about the quarrying of marble in the Apuan Alps gets heated. As part of a new plan sponsored by the Tuscany region 48 marble quarries are set to be shuttered, some within year’s end. Needless to say this is causing much debate on both sides of the issue. This week, COSMAVE, the consortium of marble quarries held a press conference to denounce the new plan, citing the loss of employment for the area’s community.

The 48 marble quarries that might be shut down are in the Versilia area, mostly above Carrara, in neighboring Garfagnana and in Massa. About 5000 positions would be eliminated with the stroke of a pen, along with 300 million euros of income generated. These are the figures touted by COSMAVE, the marble quarry business association. The Tuscany Region’s “piano paesaggistico” (environmental land-use plan) foresees the progressive closure of the quarries operating within the National Park of the Apuan Alps. There are still aspects to be defined, and even the Park’s President Putamorsi has expressed confusion. The association of marble extractors has given an unequivocal no to the new plan; the President of COSMAVE, Fabrizio Rovai has stated that “the long-standing traditions of work and excellence are threatened” and will have “negative effects on the whole community.”

Rovai thundered during the press conference: “We will not allow the erasing of the spirit and identity of a whole community, a community which is unique in the world. There are no reasons, neither real, nor invented, which would necessitate the Region closing down a recognized and successful entrepreneurial model… the quarries scheduled for closure are also the very quarries that provide the marble for the artists and marble laboratories of the area; if they close,” he continued, “goodbye Little Athens” (Pietrasanta is known as Italy’s “Little Athens” for its marble laboratories and the artists that work here.)

Meanwhile the activist group “Salviamo le Apuane” – the environmentalists who have been organizing to close the very same quarries – is staging another “walk through the paths of destruction” excursion this Sunday, March 2nd… you can find out more about the event on the fb page linked here.

The photo above is from the Scempio Apuane (Apuan Waste) blog, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

“L’economia alternativa nelle Apuane” conference will address alternatives to the ongoing marble quarrying, this Saturday, in Lucca

“Turning Art History into Toothpaste” The issues involving the “ongoing environmental disaster” in Carrara’s marble region are beginning to be noticed

<Reposting: “The destruction of the Apuan Alps; the greatest environmental disaster of Europe”

UPDATE: ____________ “Stop the destruction of the Apuan Alps” – Online petition gathers steam, prompts an official response

“SALVIAMO LE APUANE” Environmentalists and “escursionisti” tag Mount Pania to stop the “destruction of the Apuan Alps”

“The Plundered Alps” Der Spiegel Magazine tells of the devastation of the Apuan Alps

John Singer Sargent’s watercolors of the Marble Quarries in Carrara

“The Apennine in the light of day / Is a mighty mountain dim and gray.” B&W photos of the marble quarries in the Apuan Alps over Carrara

“Out of the Mist – the Rock Art of the Alpi Apuane” at Villa Gori

6 thoughts on “48 marble quarries at risk of being shut down as part of new Tuscany Region environmental plan

  1. Sad news. Does this represent the end of the road for stone carving in the region? 48 marble quarries sounds like a lot but how many quarries are there in total? In other words, once these cuts have been made will there still be a Carerra marble industry?

    • It is all yet to be finalized… in fact there’s news each day on developments one way or the other. The 48 quarries are the ones within the Apuan Alps Natural Park, and represent a small portion of the total quarries operating in the region. We think calling this the end of the industry, or the closing of Italy’s Little Athens” (Pietrasanta) way premature… we’ll try and keep up with the unfolding story… stay tuned.

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