Until Medieval times it was more of a series of small settlements than an actual village. Only at the start of the thirteenth century did they become a Municipality. Yet from that moment on, the history of Carrara became the story of how it passed from the hands of one set of lords to another. From the sixteenth to eighteenth century it belonged to the Malaspinas, then the Estense family of Modena which, apart from the period of Napoleonic domination, held on to it until 1859. Carrara, in the meantime, continued to expand its stone-based industry. When the city was incorporated into the principality of Lucca, Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi decided to transfer the Academy of Fine Arts founded in 1769 to the stately residence of the Cybo-Malaspina family. To grasp the importance of this institution, we need only consider that its teachers have included Lorenzo Bartolini, G.B. Desmarais and Emilio Greco.
Having visited the quarries, a stroll along the port is a must: the two docks surrounding it give the idea of the extent of the development of the stone-based activities. The Duomo of Sant'Andrea is of great importance; its construction got underway in the eleventh century and was completed in 1412. Another church worth visiting for its stunning Baroque interiors is the Madonna delle Grazie. Finally, Palazzo del Medico is an outstanding example of a seventeenth-century construction.
How to get there
Following the A12 Genoa-Livorno, take the Carrara exit around 10 min. from Sarzana, or follow state highway SS1 Aurelia to get there in 20 minutes.