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Carrara: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

Located in an area that extends from the foot of the Apuan Alps to the Ligurian Sea, surrounded by green hills destined for viticulture, Carrara is a town famous in the world for two things: the white statuary marble, which made possible the creation of some of the most beautiful sculptures in the world, so loved by Michelangelo, Canova and Bernini, and the lard from Colonnata, DOC delight able to captivate the palate of the sweet tooth.

The historic center of Carrara is small and can be easily explored on foot and carries facilities dating back to the Roman and medieval times, but it will surprise you above all for the irreverent details that reveal the rebellious soul of the city.

Are you ready to go and discover this city? Here she is Carrara guide: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening.



Index

  1. 10 things to see in Carrara
  2. What to see in Carrara in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Carrara: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Carrara
  5. Plan your stay in Carrara: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Carrara

1 - Historic center

The historic center of Carrara is a tangle of ancient medieval streets that wind around the Carrione stream, overlooked by typical buildings of the area with a decadent charm. Walking through the narrow streets of the center will allow you to see corners of extreme beauty, adorned with statues, strictly in white marble, and wrapped in a melancholy and poetic atmosphere.


  • on foot from the San Martino car park, passing through via 7 luglio, the street symbol of the revolt of the women of Carrara against the Nazi-fascist occupation, and from piazzetta Delle Erbe - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

2 - Marble quarries

Visiting Carrara also means seeing the famous statuary white marble quarries. Going up on the Apuan Alps you will see a unique spectacle: the mountains open to show their snow-white soul. Advice: wear sunglasses.


  • from the San Martino car park, continue by car following the signs for "Cave / Fantiscritti / Colonnata"; there is no public transport available to get to your destination, the alternative is to join an organized tour - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free
  • Carrara: tour of the marble quarries

3 - Cathedral of Sant'Andrea Apostolo

The Carrara cathedral is dedicated to Sant'Andrea, even if the patron saint of the city is San Ceccardo. It is a'imposing church in Romanesque Gothic style, obviously made of white marble between the th and th centuries.

If the outside of the cathedral looks majestic to you and you could waste hours analyzing it rose window that recalls the symbol of the city and to look for the zoomorphic figures that decorate it, the interior will not disappoint you. The bell tower is also wonderful, 33 meters high and separated from the church.

In the Piazza del Duomo, behind the statue of the Giant, you will find the commemorative plaque to Giordano Bruno, destination of procession for the celebrations of the anarchist May st.


  • from the San Martino car park, go up via 7 luglio and then via Roma following the signs for the cathedral, 15 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • open every day from 7: 00 to 19: 00
  • free

4 - Academy of Fine Arts

Located inside the Cybo Malaspina Palace, the Academy of Fine Arts is located in the historic center of Carrara and is became world famous for its sculpture courses.

In addition to the multitude of students, inside the Academy you will see works of modern art, sculptural and otherwise, the plaster casts gallery and the architectural structure of the building itself, truly fascinating.


  • from the San Martino car park, take via 7 luglio and via Roma towards Piazza D'Armi, 15 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • during university opening days and hours
  • free. Admission to the plaster cast collection may require a supplement

5 - Piazza D'Armi

Piazza D'Armi is one central square of Carrara where the central fountain in white marble stands out. The fountain is equipped with a mechanism which, using only the force of water, makes the central marble ball move, in a play of light and colors.

Also in Piazza D'Armi you will also find the music stage, of extreme value. Going down the stairs adjacent to the stage, you will reach the Suffrage Church, very dear to the citizens.


  • from the San Martino car park, take via 7 luglio and via Roma towards Piazza D'Armi, 15 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

6 - Piazza Alberica

Renaissance center of the city, Piazza Alberica shows the facades of the most important buildings in the city, including the vermilion Palazzo del Medico stands out. In the center of the square, you can admire the fountain with lions dedicated to Beatrice D'Este.

  • from the San Martino car park, walk along Corso Rosselli until you reach the Lyric Theater of the Animosi, past the theater the square will open to you in its magnificence, 13 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

7 - Postcode Center for Plastic Arts

The purpose of the Carrara Plastic Arts Center is document the evolution of contemporary art. If you are passionate about modern and contemporary art you cannot miss a visit to this fascinating museum which exhibits works by international artists and it is based in the magnificent former Convent of San Francesco.


  • from the San Martino car park follow via Roma and then turn right into via Verdi until you reach San Francesco, 18 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • from 1 June to 14 September from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 18:00 to 21:00; from 15 September to 31 May from Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from Thursday to Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 15:00 to 17:00
  • full € 5,00; reduced for students, over 65 and groups € 3,00; children under 6 free

8 - CARMI and Padula Park

Located inside Villa Fabricotti, in the magnificent scenery of the Padula Park, the CARMI is a museum totally dedicated to Michelangelo Buonarroti and to the relationship that the Tuscan artist had with the city of Carrara.
The Padula Park is enriched with works by various artists who join the thick vegetation.

  • 6 minutes by car from the San Martino car park passing through via Carriona and via Sorgnano; or 30 minutes on foot, there is no alternative by public transport - Get directions
  • from 1 June to 14 September from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00 and Thursdays from 11:00 to 23:00; from 15 September to 31 May from Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from Thursday to Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 15:00 to 17:00
  • full € 5,00; reduced for students, over 65 and groups € 3,00; children under 6 free

9 - Civic Museum of Marble

The Civic Museum of Marble is the true historical memory of the city of Carrara and tends to enhance and preserve the town tradition linked to marble, its excavation and its transformation. The museum houses works of rare beauty and important archaeological finds from the Roman era.

  • 3 minutes by car from the San Martino car park along viale XX Settembre; or 25 minutes on foot or by bus L51, L52 or L70, journey time 10 minutes - Get directions
  • from 1 June to 14 September: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00; from 15 September to 31 May: Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from Thursday to Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 15:00 to 17:00
  • full € 5,00; reduced for students, ver 65 and groups € 3,00; children under 6 free

10 - Tower of Castruccio

Located in the hamlet of Avenza, near the Carrione stream and on the Via Francigena, the Castruccio Tower is a military fortification prior to the th century.

It has a cylindrical shape, with a slightly wider base than the upper part, a crumbling section that reveals twisted marble cornices, contained in the rear walls, and the signs of a superelevation with a crown of thrones. Probably, the tower was connected with underground passages to different points of the village.

  • 7 minutes by car from the San Martino car park along viale XX Settembre and then via Gino Menconi; by bus L51, L52 or L70, travel time 25 minutes - Get directions
  • inside not open to visitors, always open to visitors from the outside
  • free

What to see in Carrara in one day: recommended itinerary

Leave your car at the San Martino car park and enter the narrow pedestrian streets of the city. Going up via Roma and passing through piazza dell'Accademia you will find yourself in via Santa Maria for one savory breakfast at the Tognozzi dalla Franca pizzeria: treat yourself to a hot focaccia with a mixture of chickpea flour, a typical local dish.

After breakfast you can visit the historic center from the nearby Piazza D'Armi, then passing through theAcademy of Fine Arts in the Cybo Malaspina building. The Carrara Academy is a university seat and, except for ongoing events, it is open on school days.
Do not miss then Alberica square, Renaissance corner, along via Loris Giorgi, e piazza del Duomo with the cathedral of Sant'Andrea Apostolo.
Turning behind the cathedral, you can follow the Carrione stream up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie. Then go back to the pedestrian area along via Apuana to the Teatro degli Animosi. Once a very important Italian opera house, now, unfortunately, closed for restoration. Going down via Carlo Rosselli, you can reach your car in a few minutes at the San Martino car park.

Drive to Colonnata, home to important quarries and the production site of the famous lard. At the entrance of the town you will find the Lardarium Lard Rock Cafè, the ideal place for a lunch dedicated to typical local products such as local cold cuts, traditional pasta dishes such as tordelli and sgabei (fried pasta) with Colonnata lard.

After your lunch, you can dedicate yourself to visiting the quarries. Reaching them is very simple, there is only one road that passes through Colonnata and it is paved with signs. Bring sunglasses with you: on fine days, the white of the marble reflects the sunlight in a violent way, making it more blinding than snow.
Continuing downhill on the same road, you will reach the bridges of Vara. It is an old railway bridge, now suitable for vehicles, with three arches made of stone and brick, which jumps over a ravaneto, or rather a gorge where the excavation debris from the quarries ends. Continuing to go down to return towards the valley, you will pass right on the old railway, now deprived of the tracks, entering the tunnels with live rock enjoying wonderful landscapes.

Dinner a Marina di Carrara, in the central square completely in white marble and adorned by a monument with a fountain, where you can visit the church of the Holy Family.
Dine at La Grande Bellezza restaurant, a rustic but welcoming environment, with vaulted ceilings. You can enjoy an excellent dinner of land or sea, with proposals from modern Italian cuisine and some forays into the local culinary tradition. After dinner, cross the square and don't miss an ice cream at Theobroma Nanus.

If you still have some energy to spend, go to the harbor area (5 minutes on foot along Viale Cristoforo Colombo) and enjoy a romantic walk on the "pier" of the seafront or discover the various clubs that adorn Ingolstadt square and surrounding areas.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Pizzeria Tognozzi dalla Franca in via Santa Maria 12 in the historic center
  2. Piazza D'Armi - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  3. Academy of Fine Arts - opening hours: on university days - ticket price: free
  4. Piazza Alberica - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  5. Cathedral of Sant'Andrea Apostolo - opening hours: open every day from 7:00 to 19:00 - ticket price: free
  6. Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie - opening hours: open every day from 8:30 to 19:00 - ticket price: free
  7. Teatro degli Animosi - interiors temporarily not open to visitors
  8. Lunch at Lardarium Lard Rock Caffè in via Fossa Cava 9 in Colonnata
  9. Colonnata historic center - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  10. Marble quarries - opening hours: always accessible (may vary depending on the quarry) - ticket price: free (may vary depending on the quarry)
  11. Ponti di Vara - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
  12. Dinner at La Grande Bellezza in via Ciro Menotti 35 in Marina di Carrara
  13. Along the sea of ​​Marina di Carrara - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free

Where to eat in Carrara: the best restaurants

  1. The Narcissus: gourmet-style meat and fish dishes, in a refined setting overlooking the sea
    Average price per person: € 50,00
    Address and contacts: c / o Bagno Polda, via Vespucci 32 Get directions / tel: 348 4205508, page FB
  2. Bay of the King: traditional land and sea cuisine, served in an intimate and familiar environment
    Average price per person: € 35,00
    Address and contacts: via Cadorna, 35 Get directions / tel: 333 8030895, page FB
  3. Hope: meat and fish preparations accompanied by excellent wines in a historic restaurant, interesting proposals also for vegetarians and vegans
    Average price per person: € 30,00
    Address and contacts: piazza delle Erbe 3 Get directions - tel: 380 7141101, page FB

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Carrara

To search for the nightlife you will have to move from the historic center of Carrara e head towards the hamlet of Marina di Carrara on the sea, where young and old flock to the evening.
Here you will find interesting bars for aperitifs and for a fun and relaxing after dinner.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Glimmer: ideal for lovers of live music, it offers a good selection of beers and innovative cocktails
    Address: via Vespucci 4 - Get directions / Facebook page
  • Local: aperitif place with terrace offering a splendid view of the sea
    Address: viale Colombo 119 - Get directions / Facebook page
  • Aisha: in a convenient and central area, a place suitable for an aperitif or for those who like to have a drink after dinner to the rhythm of trendy music
    Address: viale Colombo 9 - Get directions / Facebook page

Plan your stay in Carrara: info and useful tips

  • Carrara is about 2 hours by train from Florence and an hour by train from Pisa, the two closest airports. However, the city station is located in the hamlet of Avenza: from here you will have to take an urban bus to reach the historic center or the sea. The driving distance is 105 km from Florence (one hour by car) and 55 km from Pisa (half an hour by car), using the A12 and taking the Carrara exit.
  • Getting around: The historic center of the city can be visited on foot: in addition to being small and cozy, cars are not allowed on most of its streets, which are reserved exclusively for residents. There are public transport in Carrara but reaching the mountain areas using buses can be long and difficult and even traveling to the sea may require long waits. For this reason, the advice is to move on foot in the center of Carrara and Marina di Carrara and to use the car to reach the mountain areas and to move from the city to its seaside hamlet.
  • Where to park: in the historic center you can park for free at the San Martino car park in via Elisa; in the hamlet of Marina di Carrara parking lots are widely available and always free.
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 55,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: Pisa (50 km), Florence (105 km), Lucca (49 km), Forte dei Marmi (20 km), Viareggio (27 km)
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