A tour of Carrara and Colonnata at the start of The Greater Eastern trip!
After a direct flight from JFK to Malpensa Airport in Milan, I picked up a rental and started my brief road trip through Italy. I would rely on a cozy Fiat 500 to take me all the way to Pisa and then back Bergamo where I would catch a flight to Vilnius.
First order of things was to get a shot of Italian coffee! With energies high, I set off for a leisurely three hour drive. On the way to Pisa, I stopped at the quaint town of Carrara which had white mountains visible from the highway. I originally thought it was snow.
Carrara is a settlement that dates back to the 9th century BC, though the present day town was created to house the marble workers of the nearby quarries. Famous worldwide for the white and blue marbles, the city also is known to train sculptures to carve the blocks of rock.
Strangely the town also has the reputation for the center of anarchism in Italy, starting with the quarry workers. Today it is still known for its past association and the International Federation of Anarchists was also created here.
I parked downtown and took a quick walking tour of the city’s sights.
Then I drove along a windy road up the mountain to Colonnata.
The small hamlet of Colonnata is even older than Carrara dating back to 40 BC and was started by the Romans as a slave settlement as they worked on mining marble for the empire. With the support of the local chestnut trees, pigs were breed here successfully and this developed into the current fatty delicacy, Lardo di Colonnata.
On the drive up, marble statues lined the road and I noticed many marble dealerships. There was even a sculpting school.
The town was very quiet. I parked in the main square and took a walk around. Of course, I had to try a Lardo sandwich which was basically lard on bread. Surprisingly it was tasty, but I found it a bit difficult to get use eating just fat.
The views from the town were awesome, but there was some cloud coverage.
I stayed for a sunset and with a belly full of lard, I was back on the road towards Pisa.