This is a 9-hour guided shore excursion from the port of La Spezia exploring the Carrara Marble Quarries, the sculpture town of Pietrasanta and a Colli di Luni Vermentino wine tasting for the discerning traveler seeking an authentic Italian experience on a small-group tour with only the very best of English speaking driver/guides. Discover Italy close-up in a Mercedes minivan of up to 7 - 8 people, taking you into the very heart of this incredible artistic area. Get the most of your time ashore to explore the chic resort and follow in the footsteps of great artists such as Michelangelo.
Meet your private driver-guide at 8am as close as possible to your ship for the pleasant 45-minute drive to Pietrasanta, an old town of Roman origins rich in sculpting traditions and filled with workshops frequented by artists from all over the world. Visit the Bozzetti Sculpture Museum and get an insight into how artists make the marble come to life in a busy working artists studio. Some studios may request a small entry fee.Enjoy a coffee in the Piazza del Duomo before traveling up into the marble quarries of Carrara to discover vast amphitheaters of cut rock for spectacular views and delve into cavernous tunnels that open out into marble cathedrals. An immense cultural and historical patrimony, these mountains were first exploited by Julius Caesar and have supplied artists from Michelangelo to Henry Moore. Before your marble tour, stop to enjoy lunch in the quarryman's village of Colonnata, renowned for its lard cured in huge marble vats. There are two tours you can choose from here.
Either take a guided tour to visit the inside of a working quarry (own expense), lasting approximately 40 minutes. You'll be taken into the heart of the Apuan Alps to discover a marvelous quarry carved deep inside the mountains of an almost lunar appearance with vast and cavernous rooms. The first section is conducted from a small tour bus and once inside the Ravaccione Quarry, know as the Marble Cathedral, you will be talked through the process of cutting and pulling marble blocks and you will see the working machinery (this is still an active quarry). A truly unforgettable experience with ancient origins stemming from the second century BC.
Or, you may wish to join a thrilling 4x4 guided tour (own expense) travelling through a network of 30 open-air active quarries arriving at Quarry No 83, Canalgrande Alto, at an altitude of almost 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. The scenery is almost lunar with views over the coast and the Ligurian sea. On the quarry site your tour guide will give you detailed information about methods and stages of excavation, from cutting to loading huge marble blocks on top of the trucks right in front of your eyes. Along the way, you will see where the exciting James Bond chase scene was filmed in Quantum of Solace.
As you travel back to your ship, stop by a family-run vineyard to enjoy an afternoon winetasting in Colli di Luni, an area renowned for its Vermentino white wine (own expense). Arrival back in La Spezia is at approximately 5pm.