M is for Marble

The marble-tiled floor of St. Marks in Venice. Photo by kajmeister.

It’s just rock. A geological anomaly of a particular type of creature squeezed in a certain way than pushed out of place by a few tectonic events. Voila! A sculptor’s paradise; an architect’s dream. Imagine the floor! They did…

What Is that Stuff?

Ever since Italians noticed that they had mountains full of this really pretty stone, they’ve been sending blocks of it over to wherever sculptors are drooling. Lots of sculpture is carved from granite, which is cheaper and does last, but not as smooth. Marble forms because limestone is getting heated to “really extreme temperatures” so that minerals within the rock get fused together. In a purty way!

More marble flooring in St. Mark’s. Photo by KK.

Why Is It There?

As Luca Lotelli and Sam Anderson explained in a fascinating NY Times piece, the Italian Apuan alps is the site of one of the oldest quarries of white marble in the world. Cosimo de Medici extracted stone here for marble that the Renaissance artists used.

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