Another follow up on Carrara

In the post I wrote in January I tried to describe the road the truckers had to navigate when they brought stone down from the mountain. I just came across this photo which will show you just how dangerous it is. No guard rails and a sheer drop.

The road up and down the quarries in Carrara.

by Ed Jaffe | Published January 25, 2012

After running the post on Carrara yesterday I began to think about what an interesting place this is.  In a sense it is a typical factory town but here the product comes off the top of mountains.

The majority of the people in Carrara are involved, one way or the other, in getting that beautiful stone quarried or finished and on to market.

I was fascinated with the process. The men who work the quarries have a most exciting and dangerous job.  At least in my mind. To them it’s just something they do.. Today they use diamond saws to cut huge blocks of stone out of the mountain. Some bigger than a SUV. There is a science to it but the same thing was being done in Michelangelo’s time… only then it was harder to do and more men died in the process.

The truckers who moved the stone down the mountain were a special breed of men. There is no room to turn their large trucks so picture this. The road to the quarry is a long zig zag affair creeping up the mountain. In order to traverse the height the driver would drive a certain distance, pull into an off ramp then back the truck up the next leg.  pull into an off ramp go forward again for the next leg and so on. This would go on for miles. They would come down the mountain loaded with mega tons of stone and repeat the process. Just thinking about it scares the hell out of me.

Another thing I found interesting in this town of stone where i met the men of stone was the camaraderie that bound them all together. On the other hand there was an aloofness toward an outsider that exists in any close knit small town. I felt it immediately. Here I was, somewhat lost. Didn’t speak the language well. An obvious outsider …. Until Nicoli introduce me in a tavern where we were having lunch.  Once he told them that I was a stone carver everything changed and I was accepted. In that respect we all spoke the same language.

If any of you are sculpting marble it’s a must trip as soon as you can make it.

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