Carrara is a city and comune in the province of Massa-Carrara, Tuscany
. It is most notable for the white or blue-grey marble
quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, some 100 kilometres (62 mi) west-northwest of Florence
The province of Massa-Carrara is situated on the border with Liguria and Emilia Romagna and is characterized by an extensive coastal area
rich in tourist accommodation and lodging that range from smaller condo rental and apartment rental to more spacious vacation rental and villa rental choices. The town is a short distance from the sea; the Apuane Alps are a paradise for nature lovers and excursionists, both in summer and in winter, offering the possibility to stay in comfortable mountain villas.
Some of the main sights of Carrara include the Cathedral (Duomo, built in the 12th century), the Ducal Palace
(also Palazzo Cybo Malaspina, 16th century) which is now the seat of the Fine Arts Academy. It was built over pre-existing Lombard fortification. The Baroque church and convent of San Francesco, built in 1623-1664, the Palazzo Cybo-Malaspina and Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie alla Lugnola should not be missed. Some of the accommodations, vacation rentals, condo rentals, apartment rentals and villa rentals are housed in historic buildings.
Carrara marble has been used since the time of Ancient Rome
; the Pantheon and Trajan's Column in Rome are constructed of it. Many sculptures of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo's David, were carved from Carrara marble. The Marble Arch in London, UK and the Duomo di Siena
are also made from this stone, as are the interiors of Manila Cathedral, the cold-white marbles of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, UAE and the campus of Harvard Medical School, USA.
In the summer, Carrara, less than two hours from Florence, serves as an ideal overnight escape from the crowds that fill that city
, and the nearby beaches swell with mellow out-of-towners. This is a busy time in the town and surrounding villages so visitors should book their vacation rentals, accommodations, apartment rentals and villa rentals well in advance.
Local cuisine include taglierini with beans, meat tordelli and lasagne intordellate. These are all typical of Massese cooking. Lard (fat) from Colonnata is an exceptional local product, matured for at least six months in Carrara-marble basins with many spices.
Other specialties are the rice cake and the herb cake, with egg, cheese and wild vegetable stuffing. The Lunigiani “testaroli” are also famous, made with a sheet of thin pastry, cooked in a cast iron “test”, then topped with pesto and pecorino. The most typical desert is “spongata”, a puff pastry tart stuffed with jam and dried fruit.
Agriturismo has grown in the last years
and is expanding accommodation offers of Tuscany agriturismo to today’s wider range of vacation rental, apartment rental and villa rental options.