What's so great about Italian marble?

What's so great about Italian marble?

November 17, 2016

Statue of David for blog.jpg

Sculpted out of Italian marble between 1501-1504, marble statue by Michelangelo’s “David” is a testament to the longevity of marble.  Photo by Jörg Bittner Unna. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Q: We’re shopping for natural stone for our kitchen remodel. We like marble and were told that we “have to” go with Italian marble. We’re just wondering why. What’s so great about Italian marble? Is it really better than marble from other areas?

A: It is true that the most famous marble in the world comes from Italy, specifically the Carrara region. This is where artists such as Michelangelo and Donatello used Calacatta and Statuario marble to create some of the world’s most treasured works of art that have withstood the test of time. Italian marble is in high demand. It’s beautiful, durable, and brings with it a reputation for luxury. For this reason, many prefer authentic Italian marble.

Italian marble is considered to be superior by many due to its purity, durability, and beautiful white color. The fact that many buildings, sculptures, and other works of art made centuries ago out of Carrara marble still exist today is considered a testament to its longevity.

Part of the reason for the purity and durability of Italian marble is the way it was formed. Marble is basically crystalized limestone. When limestone (a sedimentary rock) is met with high temperature and great pressure, large crystals form and bind together to create marble (a metamorphic rock.) The intense heat destroys most of the impurities once found in the stone. Left behind are large sections of white marble with varied colored veins running through it. The color and boldness of the veins vary with the amount and type of minerals that are present in the limestone. This naturally varies based on the location of the marble, making every marble slab completely unique.

Another reason that Italian marble is thought to be superior comes simply from the rich stone working heritage of Italy. They were the first to streamline and perfect quarrying methods still used today. The Italians have set very high standards for quality control and do everything with precision. In fact Italians are still thought of as some of the most skilled cutters and carvers in the stone world today.

Lets look at Carrara marble, for example. Since it comes from only one quarry in the world located in Tuscany, it’s in very high demand. This makes the price of Carrara marble higher than other marble types on the market. But be aware that since this marble is rare, it is also often duplicated, without the end-user’s knowledge.

Sometimes slabs will be cut and tagged as “Italian” when they may have been quarried in countries like China or Vietnam, then shipped to Italy for cutting and exported to the U.S. for distribution. The term “Carrara marble” should literally mean that the marble was quarried from Italy’s Carrara region, not just that it was cut there. So when you’re shopping, be sure you ask a lot of questions to confirm that you’re actually getting what you’re paying for.

Here at Marble & Granite, Inc. we have a very large selection of Italian marble in stock. Our experienced team of stone professionals can show you the differences between authentic Italian marble and other choices. And you can rely on us to always be forthcoming and specific about where your marble was quarried.

That being said, there are some other very beautiful marble choices from other areas. For example, did you know that the marble used to build the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. was made from gorgeous white marble quarried in Colorado (Calacatta Lincoln)? So, while the Italian variety is definitely beautiful, strong, and luxurious, it’s not the “only” option. Come visit us at one of our two New England showroom locations and see for yourself which marble you think is perfect for your project.


Show Comments