The Marble Quarry Wars ____________ The environmentalists take on the art critic Philippe Daverio for his strong defense of the quarries


Now it’s the environmentalists versus Philippe Daverio, in the ongoing marble quarry controversy, in Carrara’s marble region in Tuscany.

In an open letter addressed to the noted art critic, the environmentalists asked for some clarification on the issue, and wanted to make a few points of their own. The list of environmental groups involved is: the Cultural Associations CAI-TAM, Italia Nostra Regionale, Forum Ambientale Toscano, G.I.R.O.S., Circoli Legambientali di Carrara, Lunigiana, Massa-Montignoso, La Pietra Vivente, la Rete dei Comitatiper la Difesa del Territorio, No al traforo della Tambura, Occhioni e Magrini, Salviamo le Alpi Apuane, Salviamo le Apuane, the Società degli Amici dei Ronchi e Poveromo … and WWF-Lucca.

The environmentalists were accused by Daverio of holding onto “Paleolithic ideas” regarding the fate of the marble quarries in the Apuan Alps. They have come back swinging; they state: “We’d like to make a few comments on what the art critic Philippe Daverio said recently, and which was reported in the media – starting by saying that the critic’s position is steeped in ignorance, in the true sense of the word (of one who does not know something because they ignore it), and an absolute lack of knowledge of Italian and European laws. As president of the Premio Henraux jury,” continues the letter, “it is normal that he would defend the prize and all that’s behind it, but as citizen he should know that the quarrying activity in itself is a violation of the 2000 Nature Sites Law, and violates article 142 of the Beni Culturali, and it contravenes the norms for the protection of the area’s waterways.

The letter continues: “As a citizen he should get information about the quarries’ annual budgets and surging revenues, which is a practically unique case in the distressed Italian economic panorama. He should see that these increases in revenue have not translated into less unemployment, that the marble dust (“Marmettola” in Italian) kills life in the rivers, and is a pollutant also because of it’s heavy metals content, not to mention the devastation of the mountain tops (a classic example is the Cervaiole ridge because these are tangible signs of incivility.”

The environmentalists’ letter concludes thus: “Michelangelo’s genius and of the other, even contemporary sculptors who struggle today to obtain blocks of marble to work on, are our only hope. You can be sure, Professor that you won’t have the opportunity to see the mountains green like in Switzerland, ours is a gray stone, white, solid rock that we citizens will defend with determination and firmness.”

The photo above is of Monte Atissimo / Cervaiole, from Wikipedia, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

The Marble Quarry Wars ____________ The art critic Philippe Daverio on the marble quarries: “Enough with paleolithic ideas, the Apuan Alps are beautiful because of the intervention of man”

The Marble Quarry Wars ____________ Local hiking club trail signage destroyed

The Quarry Controversy: Tuscany passes a compromise plan on the management of marble quarries within the Apuan Alps Natural Park – and no one is happy; scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday the 1st of July: a complete shutdown of the industry… and a “March on Florence”

24 hours to “Stop the Destruction of the Apuan Alps”

“In the quarry of Michelangelo, it’s war between environmentalists and quarrymen” The Italian daily ‘La Stampa’ follows the ongoing controversy over the marble quarries in the Apuan Alps

Marble Quarry Closures – The seven mayors of the Versilia stand united against Tuscany

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

“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

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