This morning is going to be a very exciting morning.
I am having breakfast in my bedroom since it is very early and I do not want to go downstairs in spite of the bounties I know will be waiting for me there: pastries, brioches, cakes, accompanied by delicious cappuccinos and coffees.
I want to savour these early hours of the morning before getting dressed and getting ready for my today’s experience.
I am going up to the marble quarries in jeep, with a super knowledgeable guide I was referred to by a friend.
Gabriele, owner of Il Tau, is coming to pick me and my friends up in a special jeep, a jeep able to climb up on the steep and narrow roads created for the marble trucks, where you need to be brave and capable to drive on.
It’s 8.30, am. I am ready to go.
My friends are ready, there are 7 of us in the jeep and there it’s a mix of excitement and anxiety.
Gabriele is telling us the story of the quarries and we listen to him attentively, while the jeep leaves the motorway and heads to Carrara.
On the boulevard going to the city centre, Gabriele asks us to look up and we see the quarries for the first time: what an amazing view! Are we really driving up there? Incredible!
We start climbing up and the road gets narrower and steeper and a strange silence falls onto the jeep.
It’s only Gabriele who does the talking, we are too busy in looking around to utter a word.
Then we stop and Gabriele asks us to get off the jeep and shows us a first, dismissed quarry and shows us how the tecchiaioli are used to working: the guardian angels of the quarry workers, who clean the marble benches from the falling stones, before the workers go up and work.
A very dangerous job, says Gabriele, that very few people can do or want to do, for the other workers’ safety.
Back to the jeep and up to the quarry. Off we go in a bumpy, super narrow road where there is no tarmac, no even surface to drive on.
Everybody looks at Gabriele who seems happy and relaxed while everybody starts getting a bit scared… even the bravest ones.
After some more minutes of narrow bends and super bumpy roads, here we are on top of the mountain where we can, at last, get off.
The breeze is nicely cold, the sky pristine, the whiteness blinding!
Gabriele tells us how and where marble is used, but for what we are used to seeing in our everyday life and, much to our surprise, we find out that marble powder is also used in toothpaste or in some food… how weird…
But it’s already time to get up on the jeep to go to the close pit quarries, right into the belly of the mountain to see how marble is excavated from within.
Speechless, we are now, speechless… the inside is, if possible, more fascinating than the outside and, in the darkness broken by artificial light, we look at the shining marble, we hear the water flowing somewhere and we listen to the absolute silence.
What an experience!
What a day!
We are now ready to leave, but Gabriele does not want us to go home without tasting the quarry workers’ food, the worldwide famous lardo… a salame made of pork, that is said to be good for the stomach.
We all realize how hungry we now are and how ready for this new eno-gastronomic adventure we are.
And while lardo melts into my mouth I think this is the perfect end of an exciting experience.