Unlike Calacatta, Carrara Marble has a softer hue, showing a gray appearance with blue undertones instead of a striking white background. One of the oldest marbles used in renaissance sculptures and as flooring for pantheons, Carrara Marble is a prized stone in Italy, found only in the Carrara region near Tuscany.
A few things to note about Carrara marble is its rarity. Carrara is the most common marble found in Italy, and is shop-priced at around $70-$100 per square foot as the material is still considered a luxury product.
Calacatta Marble is also found in the same region as Carrara quarries, though the two types differ in design and rarity. Some quarries produce better Carrara, while others are more notable for their production of Calacatta Marble instead. A reputable shop with Carrara should be getting their supply directly from Italy, or from another shop-to-shop supplier of Italian marbles.
In modern culture, Carrara continues to be a popular choice of design material, with its calming appearance and more dramatic veins compared to Calacatta Marble. The heavily veined marble designs create an active visual, and as the marble is elegant, it is popular to use as marble countertops, marble floors, and as tiles.
Its web-like gray veining makes it great to use in any room, such as a marble countertop in kitchens, in bath areas, and in swimming pools, as the veins reflect off a stunning yet soft visual similar to Calacatta Marble. The stone is as popular as granite in home use, and Carrara is the go-to stone for many designers in their home decor.
Carrara is also used for tile, carved into crown moldings, used as a light accent for dark rooms, or turned into new products through chiseling and carving. Installation of wide pieces of marble create a fluid effect that works well in kitchens and bathrooms.
As in the unfortunate case of the Dionysos Theater, Carrara Marble is susceptible to black fungus Micrococcus halobius, forming a biofilm to essentially eat away at the marble slab from the inside. With proper conservation practices, structures made with white Carrara Marble can last for thousands of years, as seen in many of the ancient structures still standing today.
A Carrara Marble counter can last longer than the designers who crafted it, with the proper care. The polished surface of Carrara makes it a low maintenance material that is maintained the same way as most other marble types, making it a popular choice for homes and offices. Here are a few tips to care for Carrara Marble:
As Carrara makes the perfect environment to house black mold, avoiding moisture and organic material from settling in the porous material just makes sense. Black fungus forms biofilms from glucose available within the material, decaying the stone in the process. Additionally, wiping away spills and oils helps prevent staining.
Abrasive cleaning implements are the bane of marble surfaces, and the roughness of these abrasive cleaners scrub away at the varnish, leaving a dull, matte look and exposed marble that is susceptible to staining, mold, and discoloration. Stick to soft cloths and sponges instead.
Acid is the number one enemy of natural stones, and the same goes for Carrara. Bleach isn’t any better, as the harsh chemical solution can etch the surface of the varnish. Vinegar, lemons, and chemical cleaners are also a no-go, as well as alcohol, so avoid spilling these items on your surfaces.
Castile soap diluted in some water creates a gentle yet effective cleaning solution that works well on sensitive surfaces where acidic solutions, alcohol, and bleach cannot be applied. Gentle for both skin and surfaces, castile soap is your best bet in cleaning any type of sensitive material, and is perfect to use for countertops and tile-floor areas.
Carrara Marble was historically used to line temple floors and as raw material for famous renaissance sculptures, one of the latter being The Pietà, sculpted by famous artist Michelangelo and is now housed in the Vatican.
The material is the popular choice for many Ancient Roman structures like the Pantheon, Temple of Proserpina, and the victory Column of Marcus Aurelius. Carrara was also the marble of choice for the Greeks and other countries; however, the famous Dionysos Theater in Acropolis succumbed to damage from black fungi.
Other famous structures that make use of Carrara Marble include the Statue of George Washington in the National Museum of American History, the interior of the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines, the Oslo Opera House in Norway, and in various historical temples and buildings in Malta.
Carrara Marble may be a common type of marble, but it is no less luxurious or timeless than the more expensive Calacatta or White Statuario. It has established its place in history, being the popular and preferred material for statues, buildings, and places of worship.
Today, many of the famous structures formed from this Carrara Marble have been carefully preserved, and continue to stand strong as the material is cared for and maintained for future generations to witness.
To learn more about different types of natural formations, like granite, used in homes and buildings, check out our blog to read on cleaning and care tips!
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