Since ancient times, the Tuscany area was well known for its high quality white marble. For more than 2000 years the extraction activity shaped the profile of the mountains. More recently, world conflicts and the raising awareness of the importance of protecting the mountains caused the closing of many extraction activities in the area. Following the study of Siena University, the number of abandoned marble quarries in the area of Carrara and the Apuan Alps is 510 sites. But which are the most beautiful to visit? In this guide, I will show you where to find them and what to expect.
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Disclaimer: Visiting abandoned places is at your own risk. We are not responsible for any trouble or injury incurred while exploring. However, we encourage you to use a little common sense to get an idea of how to safely explore.
Henraux’s “Le Tagliate”, Serravezza
Le Tagliate, from Italian means chopped, is one of the most spectacular abandoned marble quarries you will ever see! In 2021, the artist collective Glitch transformed the white walls into an open air art gallery with beautiful murals. Since then the location has become very popular, and you will find bikers, climbers, photographers, and many people visiting, especially in the Summer months.
To access the quarry, you will have to pass by a “no entry” sign in front of a high gallery. The gallery opens on a middle level, from where you can explore other floors. In some points the passages are narrow and if you suffer from vertigo you shouldn’t go there. There are still many murals you can access without any risk.
If you go on the left there is a small lake that freezes in Winter. One of the most beautiful murals is there: the profile of a man reflecting in the waters. It’s really suggestive!
Would you like to know more about Henraux’s Le Tagliate marble quarry? Check out this blog post.
Valsora, Pian della Fioba
Valsora has been at the center of a conflict between environmentalists and the marble companies in the most recent years, because of a small inhabitant, the Apuan newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris apuana). This small lizard has chosen the beautiful natural lake that was formed through the years inside the marble quarry.
After a long legal battle, the newt won. Nowadays you can visit the scenario by paying an entry fee of 8€. Before your visit, I highly recommend you contact the ticket office as they are not open every day. Contact them on their Facebook page Cava Valsora. The ticket office has also a small kiosk where you can buy a drink to enjoy in the beautiful scenario.
Abandoned marble quarry of Passo del vestito
A few meters from Cava Valsora, there is a second abandoned terrace that has incredible views of the coastline. Even if it doesn’t have the scenic lake of neighboring Valsora, the views are equally beautiful and there is no entry fee. Moreover, it is a nice alternative if you don’t want to walk, as the quarry is almost on the road.
Note: Cava Valsora and Passo del Vestito are strategic as they are on the same road which leads to Henraux. On the same day, you can easily visit the three of them.
Madielle marble quarry on Pasquilio
Madielle is one of the most interesting marble quarries as you can observe the disastrous consequences of the excavation process. The mountain’s peak was completely “eaten” by the extraction activities.
Today the mountain is the site of telecommunications antennas, which contribute to giving a surreal ambiance to the place. The panorama from there is the best among all the locations on the list.
And even if the above-listed reasons are not enough, add Madielle to your list as it’s at the starting point of the Folgorito Mountain trail, one of the easiest and most beautiful Apuan Alps trails with some incredible views of the coast.
Mineraria Apuana quarry
Another open air art gallery is the incredible Mineraria Apuana quarry nearby Forno. Situated on a scenic corner of the Frigido River, this quarry surprises visitors with the abandoned beauty of the scenery.
Ancient structures once used to treat the marble and for administrative purposes, are still visible today. The walls are covered by murals and ancient engines are still visible.
This location is completely surreal but it’s probably more interesting for urbex explorers and photographers. You will see fewer white marble walls but I still highly recommend visiting it for its incredible scenery.
Where to find them?
You have the locations, but where can you find them? Check out the map below and start exploring. Remember to bring your camera for some epic shots!
Things to know before exploring an abandoned marble quarry
Exploring abandoned places is fascinating, but of course, you are on your own and the risks are way higher. Risks of collapse are real even if the marble blocks look stable. For these reasons when exploring don’t take risks.
You should also wear comfortable shoes and ideally cover your legs. In case you fell on the gravel you will have fewer scratches. You may want to note that during Winter the surfaces are more slippery due to rain and ice.
One last rule for urbex exploration in general: don’t ever go alone!
If anything happens to you, you have no idea of the time it will take other people to find you.
If you are interested in seeing the hidden side of Tuscany, you should definitely consider exploring these beautiful quarries. But have you ever considered visiting an active marble quarry? In this guide I will show you the best guided tours to explore the active marble quarries nearby Carrara. Some include even inside tours!
Are you visiting Tuscany soon? As a native I have plenty of guides for you. From iconic and classic sight seeings to hidden gems you don’t want to miss!
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