Carrara’s Marble Route, Where “007 Quantum of Solace” Most Memorable Scenes shot

The Marble Route near Carrara (northern Tuscany) passes through the marble mountains, tunnels, local village built for marble diggers, and archaeological sites.  Along the marble route one can see marble quarries and drive on the winding roads that lead to them. Those marble quarries were made even more famous by the film “007 Quantum of Solace“, staring Daniel Craig and directed by Marc Forster. Some of the film’s most memorable scenes were shot there, including a car chase in the famous James Bond Aston Martin.

Viator

There are many marble tours on the markets. We have seen several tours while we drove around the route.  Because we came with the idea to visit the area during our Tuscany trip, we were unable to book one on site. Therefore, we made a self-driving through the following marble route.

The first view of marble mountains

We started from Carrara Old Town then took the Via Codena. The road leads to the Colonnata Valley. After about 2500 metres we entered into Codena. Once we exited the village, we had a gorgeous view of marble mountains.

A gorgeous view of marble mountains along the marble route
A gorgeous view of marble mountains along the marble route

Panorama view point  “La Piana”

We drove further towards Colonnata and then passed through Bedizzano.  After about 1km there is a panorama view point called “La Piana”.  There is also a marble souvenir store which offers many amazing marble products, such as chopping board and chess boards. i couldn’t resist the beautiful products and bought one a blue marble bracelet for 8 Euro.  Well, the owner confirmed me that the blue colour was natural.

Panorama view point "La Piana" along the marble route
Panorama view point “La Piana” along the marble route
Marble products from souvenir store alone the Carrara Marble Road
Marble products from souvenir store alone the Carrara Marble Road

Remains of Roman Quarry

Keep driving the same route for another 1500 metres we found a big marble block that shows the direction to an archaeological site. It is said that marble was extracted probably even before the Roman times. Since 5th century B.C., it was used to built monuments, buildings and works of art.

The site shows how Roman used some very simple tools to dig marbles. On some semi-finished marble blocks bear descriptions, the so-called “marchi di cava” (quarry marks). These are short texts linked to the marble extraction activity. The quarry marks include the ownership of the block, the sector of the quarry where the block had been extracted or the name of the foreman in charge of the extraction activity.

Marble blocks with short texts linked to the marble extraction activity
Marble blocks with short texts linked to the marble extraction activity

We had to go back to the main road where the souvenir shop is. Continued following the road sign to Colonnata, in about 10 minutes we reached Colonnata.

Colonnata

Colonnata is a hamlet of the comune of Carrara. It was probably the oldest settlement in the area during the Roman time. The village has maintained some of its historic marble features, such as the use of marble in murals, doorways, doorjambs, windows and other architectural features.

Read more from my post: Colonnata, a Village Nestled in the White Marble Mountain Apuan Alps

The village is also known for the Colonnata lard, a type of cured pork fat.  One can buy the product in the local shops. The village is a good stopover for our marble journey.

Marble tables and bench in front of the local supermarket in Colonnata, northern Tuscany
Marble tables and bench in front of the local supermarket in Colonnata, northern Tuscany

Vara Bridges and tunnels

From Colonnata we descended along the same route to the first road crossing, then turned right towards the place called Tarnone.  From Tarnone we took the tunnel which was once used for the marble railroad.  The tunnels are all in one-way. Here we started to experience the 007 movie scenes. On the way we caught views over the villages of Bedizzano and Codena.

Entrance to the tunnel, formal marble railroad, northern Tuscany
Entrance to the tunnel, formal marble railroad, northern Tuscany

After about 1km is the Vara Bridge. This is another view point of the marble mountains.

Vara Bridge outside the formal railway, northern Tuscany
Vara Bridge outside the formal railway, northern Tuscany
View over Codena and surrounding valley from Vara Bridge
View over Codena and surrounding valley from Vara Bridge

Open air exhibition of tools and machines

From Vara Bridge we turned right and drive uphill to Fantiscritti. There is a big parking lot, toilets and an open air exhibition. In the exhibition there are machines and tools used over the 2000 years of excavation and transportation of marble.

From Fantiscritti back to Carrara

To get back to Carrara we needed to drive downhill again. At Vara Brdge we turned right and drove through another tunnel which was illuminated. On the way there is still a chance to enjoy the view of Carrara from the mountain all the way to the sea. After the tunnel there is a sign pointing to Carrara. From the sign it is 2km driving to the Carrara historical town centre.

Viator

Conclusion

Based on our experience,  it is quite difficult to follow the marble route without guide.  Some places are not well sign-posted. Besides, an off-road car is recommended because some places are unpaved. Although we made a self-driving tour following the entire Marble Route described above, I would recommend to book a tour instead.

There are many guided off-road tours. Check out this tour if you want to have an inside of of the marble culture and industry: Exclusive Marble Cave Jeep Tour Adventure.  It may provide the chances to visit a working quarry.

If you are having holiday in Viareggio, you can join this tour, Carrara Marble Tour Small Group from Viareggio For further details please check here.

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