Land of artists and marble workers between the Apuan Alps and the sea
Carrara marble, found in northern Tuscany, is very famous for the statuary quality and has been used by all the most famous sculptors in the world such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Jacopo Della Quercia and Canova. The first notable point of extractive activity was in the roman period, during the imperial age the demand for Carrara marble rose to become the most requested building stone for public buildings.
The town of Carrara is not far from the marble quarries, and since its origin, the town has been linked with the process of quarrying and marble working: already since the Roman Age from the close harbour of Luni at the mouth of river Magra, marble has been exported all over the world. A process called lizzatura was used to move these heavy blocks from their lofty perch to sea level where they could then be transferred. This involved the use of a large sledge (“lizza”), pulled by oxen and this highly dangerous operation was controlled by experienced quarrymen.
There is a commemoration which takes place in the quarries in the basin of Colonnata, usually on an August Sunday: it re-enacts the marble carriage through “lizzatura”. Usually, at the end of the morning, the event is closed with the bacon-fat tasting better known as Lardo di Colonnata – and very famous. It is characteristic of the village and was first produced in the 11th century. The marble workers used to eat lardo with bread and wine before their laborious day at work.
The Lardo di colonnata is a typical pork product of Carrara. Unique for its particular salting and for its curing in marble tubes, the Lard of Colonnatata is a protected geographical identification(P.G.I.) product. It is taken from the layer of hard fat along the pig’s back and normally only Tuscan porks are used.
Layers of lard are alternated with herbs such as pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, sage and rosemary. The marble used is also rubbed with garlic and the maturation time can last anything from 6 to 10 months.
This delicious salami is still made in this traditional way which gives it its soft consistency and sweet flavour, enriched by the herbs and spices used in the preparation