Carrara marble is one of the most expensive building materials. It gets its name from Carrara, Italy, the city in which this marble is most commonly quarried. With its beautiful white or grayish-blue hue, Carrara is a highly desirable marble.
Carrara marble, like all marble, is a metamorphosed limestone. Marble starts its life beneath the Earth's surface as limestone. As the limestone is subjected to heat and pressure through millions of years, it recrystallizes into marble.
The quarries of Carrara, Italy, are where Carrara marble comes from. The marble is blasted off in huge blocks and then taken to a factory to be cut and polished. Today, technology allows quarry workers to use giant cutting machines to remove marble from the quarry, but in the past, they had to use dynamite.
Carrara marble has been favored as a sculpting material throughout history, especially in the Renaissance. Michaelangelo's famous sculpture, "David," is made of Carrara marble.
Carrara marble was used in architecture by the ancient Greeks and Romans, usually as exterior cladding, and it still is used occasionally used today. The famous Amoco skyscraper in Chicago originally was clad in Carrara marble but had to be reclad in a different material once the Carrara marble started to crumble and fall down to the street below.
Carrara marble most commonly is used today in home design as countertops and floor tiles. White Carrara marble especially is desirable for its clean, aesthetic qualities.