My Magic Earth

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, a 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“, starring 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.

There are many marble tours on the markets, for example, the exclusive marble cave jeep adventure tour. We have seen several tours on the way 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.

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

Panorama viewpoint  “La Piana”

We drove further towards Colonnata and then passed through Bedizzano.  After about 1km there is a panorama viewpoint 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 to 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 the 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  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.

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.

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

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 well-kept some marble features, such as the use of marble in murals, doorways, doorjambs, windows and other architectural features.

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.

Related post: Colonnata, a Village Nestled in the White Marble Mountain Apuan Alps

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

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

Travel tips

Based on our experience,  it is quite difficult to follow the marble route without a 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 booking a tour ahead instead.

There are many guided off-road tours. Check out this Carrara Marble Quarries Day Tour , if you want to have an inside of the marble culture and industry. It may provide the chances to visit a working quarry. If you are having a holiday in Viareggio, you can join this tour, Carrara Marble Tour Small Group from Viareggio.

Where to stay

The Carrara town is also an interesting place to explore. It is unique and has always been considered the city of marble. Here are some of the best and reasonable hotels.

Those marble quarries were made even more famous by the film "007 Quantum of Solace", starring Daniel Craig and directed by Marc Forster.

 

9 Comments

  1. What a beautiful place to visit and enjoy all that nature offers. I would love to see a photo of your blue marble bracelet.

  2. My friend will be leaving for Italy for her annual summer vacation. I will have to send her this link. Maybe they would be able to get to see Marble Marble mountains. Or better yet, they can ask their tour company if there would be a way they can have a guided tour to this place. Looks really beautiful!

  3. Oh wow. Quantum of Solace was shot here with Daniel Craig!?!? I’m a huge fan and would visit solely for the movie nostalgia. I was unaware of this until you brought it to our attention.

  4. Looks like an interesting place to visit. Good to know that it would be handy to have a guide. I love DIY tours but always nice to know beforehand if a certain place is better visited with someone who knows about the place and can provide better guidance on where to go and how long for.

  5. Wow everything just looks so beautiful, I would love to visit the village you speak of, I’ve never heard of it before but I’ve always wanted to go to Tuscany.

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