Colonnata is immersed in a suggestive mountain frame of the Alps, situated at the feet of the marble quarries (540 m. a.s.l.) and joined by Carrara, which is only 7km away, by a panoramic road.

It's history probably began with the Roman settlement in the first century A.C., in whose valley were implanted the first yards for the exploitation of marble.

The name of this village has certain origin from the colonies of the slaves, which were forcably present in this area and used to work in the quarries.  It also may derive from the latin word "columnata", place of colonies, a term used to indicate a temple dedicated to sacrifices and to prayers to the gods, which the Romans have documented to have practiced within their quarries.  The position of the village, far from the Carrione Valley and therefore also the sea and the vicinity of it's rich  mines with valuable marble, proved beneficial for Colonnata's ability to specialize in the extraction of marble.  On the other hand, the artificial terraces that surround the village gave them the independence of agricultural cultivalation.

Although the first historical information was documented in the 1200s, it's easy to imagine Colonnata, due to it's geografical position, used as a fort to aid peoples in defense during the war, throughout the Middle Ages.  Peoples such as the Bizantini, the Goti, or the Longobardi.  It was the latter that most certainly introduced, pig-breeding to this area.

During one of the cyclic crises within the marble industry, a nobleman of the area, Alberico Cybo, ordered the people living in the  area to dedicate themselves to the cultivation of the land.  As a result, this gave incentive to the pastorization and the breeding of pigs above all, due to the large quantity of chestnuts in the area.  However, with the passing of time, instead of breeding, a preference to the transformation of pork meat bought from the local butchers prevailed and thus began the tradition by the inhabitants of Colonnata, to produce the famous Lardo.

History proceeds, confirming the link between Colonnata and its quarries, with which various nobelmen and lords granted moments of progress and well-being to those in misery and poverty.

A visit to Colonnata and its quarries must begin at the Civico Marmo Museum, situated on Viale XX Settembre near the Stadium, in Carrara.  Here indeed, many Roman archeological artifacts can be seen, which were found in the quarries of the big marble-bearing basin of Luni in 1st century A.D.:  a sacrificial statue of a certain Giove Sabazio;  a young man's head, which most certainly represents a divinity;  the beautiful statue of Artemis-Luna;  semi-finished pillar bases and capitals;  antique tools made of iron;  inscribed drawings and numerous other discoveries. 

The village of Colonnata has maintained, in part, it's original and historical characteristics which have been imprinted with the processing of marble.  This evidence can be seen in the hanging murals left in sight, in the portals, in the door and window-posts and in other stuctural components.

Among the other elements present in the village, one can admire: the North door, which gives access to the village and pertains to it's medieval town-walls; it's paved, marble floor which can be found in the southern-most point of the inhabited area; a sidewalk built with shapeless marble pieces, embeded together situated under Palestro Square;  the modern sculpture dedicated to the quarrymen and the parochial church of the XVI century, dedicated to Saint Bartolomeo, endowed with a church bell. Within the church, the white marble of the main altar stands out while the lateral ones are made of coloured marble.  One can also see the beautiful crucifix in the statuesque material and finally, a marble relief of Mary's ascent into heaven among the saints.

Amid the marble quarries that create a suggestive frame, a visit to the Goia and Fossacava quarries is a must in your itinerary, to conclude and complete your visit.



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