Drive into the Apuan Alps to behold the quarries where Carrara marble has been excavated for centuries and then enjoy a sampling of a local Tuscan delicacy.
After departing from the pier, you will drive toward the Apuan Alps, a mountain range where high-quality marble has been quarried for centuries. What appears to be snow from a distance is actually white marble and marble dust on the mountains' bare quarried faces.
As you approach the quarries, you will switch vehicles and continue on in a Jeep that is ideally suited for the rugged terrain. During the drive through the quarries, your escort will elaborate on the excavation process and how it has changed over the centuries.
In Roman times, Carrara marble was extracted by hand and shipped throughout Italy to build palaces and monuments. During the Renaissance, Michelangelo came to these quarries to find marble for masterpieces such as the Pietà and David. The artist favored the whitest, most finely veined marble from the Serra gorge. Today, beefy bulldozers and diamond-edged cutting equipment are used to excavate the marble.
But marble isn't the only product synonymous with this area, as you will discover at a lard sampling. While it may not sound appetizing, the local Colonnata lard, which is pork back fat, is considered a delicacy. The preparation involves cutting the lard into strips, adding proprietary seasonings, and then aging it in a marble container for at least six months. The resulting treat will melt in your mouth. Following some free time, you will travel back to the pier.