This Underrated Italian Town Is A Unique Destination Covered In Marble

If you're one of the many travelers who plan to head to Italy this summer, regardless of where you go, you're in for a real treat. Italy is a fascinating country with a little something for everyone, whether it's foodie-centric regions like Emilia Romagna, bustling cities like Rome or Naples, or under-the-radar European beaches like those in Tropea or Sicily.

Due to the sheer popularity of Italy, tourist traps must be actively avoided. Luckily, there are still destinations nestled within the country that leave plenty of room to be discovered. For one of the most unexpected and atypical destinations in beloved Italia, head to Carrara, a city made nearly entirely of marble. Conveniently located in Tuscany, Carrara makes for a unique day trip from nearby major cities like Lucca, Florence, and Pisa. It doesn't hurt that Italy has one of the most efficient train systems in the world, making your commute to Carrara seamless. If you want to swap the Tuscan vineyards for Tuscan marble (or simply add Tuscan marble to your itinerary), here's what you'll need to know before you go.

You'll have a marble-ous time

It might sound funny or even a bit random to visit marble mountains in Italy, but Carrara marble is one of the most sought-after products for sculptures and furniture in the world. So much so that even the famed statue of David by Michelangelo in nearby Florence is made of Carrara marble. Consisting of over 150 quarries, the marble mountains of Carrara are truly a sight to behold. As you head into the town of Carrara, you'll see the Apuan Alps in the distance, and while it might appear they're snowcapped, as you get a closer look, you'll realize much of their white complexion is instead just exposed marble.

The best way to experience getting up close and personal with the quarries in Carrara is by booking a tour with someone who has a trusted hand behind the wheel and a sturdy vehicle, since driving up these mountains is not for the faint of heart. Toscana Tour Experience is a reputable guide in the area with the proper vehicle (a Jeep or truck is needed) to ensure you reach the top of the mountains safely.

Prior to heading up the mountains, visit a workshop where you can watch sculptors craft marble into works of art. And on your way up, know that you're in for a long haul, so satiate your appetite at Larderia Giannarelli, a family-run business that has been serving up succulent Tuscan lardo for years.

How to get to Carrara

While the town of Carrara is quite small, there is room for more exploring beyond the marble quarries. The Duomo di Carrara is an architectural masterpiece, and visiting a town's duomo is simply a rite of passage in any Italian town. Piazza Alberica is the colorful city square of Carrara, featuring a statue of Maria Beatrice d'Este, former Princess of Carrara. Overall, Carrara is small enough to see in just one day. Luckily, with a Eurail pass, you can visit Carrara by jumping on the train from a nearby city. Simply book your train to Carrara-Avenza station.

To base yourself in a more bustling nearby destination, your best bet is Lucca. The train from Lucca to Carrara will only take around one hour in commuting, but beyond that, there are reasons tourists are flocking to Lucca lately. Lucca is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the entire country, is surrounded by historic walls, and offers some of the best cuisine in the Tuscan region. Stay at Grand Universe Lucca for a traditional yet chic hotel setting, or Grand Universe La Residenza for an apartment-style accommodation, especially ideal for longer-term stays.

Florence is also a viable option for where to base yourself for a great Carrara day trip, with a train commute of a little over two hours. The city is filled with many must-visit spots, and is one of the most popular destinations in the country.