The “Lizzatura Storica, 2014” gets re-staged this Sunday, the 10th of August at 9am at Ponte di Vara, above Carrara. The “Lizzatura” is the ancient system of transporting marble, the bringing-to-valley of the marble blocks. It is a daring technique – difficult, back-breaking and very dangerous – that started at the same time man started extracting marble from the mountain quarries.
The “Lizzatori” who were grouped in numerous teams and together would lower the huge blocks of marble along “Lizzatura” pathways – without the aid of any mechanical device. These pathways were made using the natural slope of the mountains, or improvised using the stream-beds which led down to the valley. Risk, fatigue, sweat, and courage were a component of the daily lives of the Lizzatori of Carrara. The streets’ names in the area today bear witness to the difficulties faced by the men – one street is called the “Via dei martiri del lavoro.” (Martyrs of Work, Road).
It was these same workers who brought the famous “Marble Colossus” a huge block of marble (intended for the construction of the Mussolini Column, in Rome) from the quarries to the port of Carrara, in 1928, in a remarkable feat of engineering. The whole event was filmed by the Italian Film Institute, Luce, and we post it below.
Since 2007 the Associazione Compagna Lizzatori Carrara, the modern-day heir to the ancient endeavor, has staged the historic “Lizzatura.” It is a dramatic event that links the quarrying work through time – and which still manages to make the hairs on one’s neck stand up.
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The photo above is from Delcampe.com.