Carrara, Italy and its 3 M’s (Massive Marble Mountains)

Remember the fight scene in the most recent James Bond movie (the one with the super pretentious sub-title…Quantam of something)? Remember the amazing car chase sequence over mountains covered in white dust that immediately followed the fight scene? Well that whole sequence (which appears to be just minutes after the fight scene on some of Siena’s roof tops) takes place in a city called Carrara. Just FYI, it is about 2 and half hours drive from Siena to Carrara. (See map below)

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View of the Carrara mountains

However, that is really beside the point. Carrara just happens to make a great backdrop for a great car scene in an otherwise pretty crappy movie. Carrara itself, however, is anything but crappy. It is the home to some of the most important marble quarries in Italy. It just happens to be from these very quarries that the Romans built the Pantheon and Trajan’s Column. It was from Carrara marble that Michelangelo carved his David and many of his other sculptures as well. There are even buildings in the United States that are dressed in this creamy white, blue-grey stone.

The quarries themselves are well worth the visit, not only for the view from outside (the white marble dust that covers the mountains makes them look as if they are covered in snow from afar), but also for the view from inside! These mountains have been quarried from the inside, out and the immense hollow space inside them could practically fit an entire New York City block.

View from inside the mountain

Thanks to the lovely people at Marmo Tours (i.e. a sweet lady with a white van that has the words “Marmo Tour” scrawled on the side interspersed with hearts. I do heart me a good Marmo Tour) you can drive straight into the center of these mountains and see for yourself. They give a really great tour in English that will tell you everything you never knew you wanted to know about marble, including how on earth you cut into a massive marble mountain to begin with. Many of the equipment and machinery has been left out to give you a better idea of the process and is also conveniently situated to provide an excellent point of reference in later photos for just how unbelievably enormous these spaces really are.
For a better idea of both the inside and outside of these mountains check out these videos!
The scenery outside:

The scene inside this massive hallow mountain (note size of humans standing around as compared to seemingly endless space):

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