Cava Museo – Carrara, Italy - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Carrara, Italy

Cava Museo

Explore the quarry where the marble was sourced for Michaelangelo's David. 

Cave di Marmo is a sprawling series of white marble caves and quarries stretching from Carrara, Italy, into the surrounding mountains. The milky stone sparkles in the sunlight and almost seems to spill down the mountains like thick patches of snow.

There’s now a museum nestled within the heart of the quarries. It allows people to take a tour and explore the quarries to learn about the history of how the stone was excavated, as well as its use in art and architecture. Inside the museum, you can find huge, beautiful sculptures made from the very stone that surrounds the site.

People have been trekking into these mountains to quarry the marble for thousands of years. The ancient Romans admired its beauty and purity. They sourced rocks from these mines to create some of their most iconic buildings like the Pantheon and the Column of Marcus Aurelius. In the renaissance, the Florentine guilds purchased a huge block of marble from the quarry which Michelangelo used to create his David statue.

The marble is famous outside of Italy, too. It’s been used in gorgeous, grand buildings throughout the world. But though millions have passed by statues or wandered through buildings made with the stone, far fewer have explored the actual quarries it came from.

Know Before You Go

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes you don't mind getting a bit dusty.