Hidden treasures

Where did Michelangelo choose his marble?

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Where did Michelangelo choose his marble?

Carrara marble is a precious material known for its beauty all over the world. Even Michelangelo fell in love with it, not only because of its dazzling candor but because its grain was ‘compact, homogeneous and crystalline’. To give you a better idea, he used to compare it to sugar. In fact, for many of his works the great sculptor decided to use the fine white marble of the Apuan Alps. He discovered it in 1517 when he climbed Mount Altissimo and, after that, he would often visit the quarries to choose in person the blocks to be used for his artworks. It was not a matter of trust, but Michelangelo knew very well that if the marble was not adequately quarried it could crack and break, with months of work going up in smoke!

For this reason, he spent long periods in the quarries, when he was in close contact with the quarrymen, sharing their toil and the risks. Thanks to the support of Pope Leo X, a system was even devised to extract the blocks and transport them to Florence to be used for the decorations of the Church of San Lorenzo. Unfortunately, the project was not completed due to a number of reasons, including high costs, so much so that the facade of the Florentine church is still unfinished. However, Carrara marble was used for other works by Michelangelo, amongst them the famous Pietà in St Peter’s. And it was certainly not only the great sculptor who used it, the quarries in the area are still active and have been used for the Cathedral of St. Petersburg, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, just to name a few, and works by great artists such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Joan Miro.

Talking about Michelangelo, do you feel like seeing the wonderful David? Perfect, there is no problem, choose our panoramic tour of Florence, with walk in the historical center and guided visit to the Gallerie dell’Accademia.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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