Ancient marble quarry – Ornavasso

The ancient quarry in Ornavasso, situated in Lower Ossola, now no longer in operation, is part of an extraordinary naturalistic and historical-artistic complex; it is one of the most spectacular examples of an underground marble quarry, every year attracting very many visitors who wish to make a fascinating journey into the heart of the mountain.
The main entrance leads into an artificial tunnel with the ceiling and walls covered entirely with excavated material: along the tunnel it is still possible to observe the vents used for air exchange and to unload marble scalpings.
Before entering the magnificent extraction hall, you go through a stretch of tunnel 200 metres long, dug into the heart of the rock.
The value of the precious material of the hall is enhanced by the grandeur of the marble walls and the vastness of the cavity. The visit to this hall coincides with the most sensory part of the tour, the part that inspired one of the masters of contemporary dance, Brazilian choreographer Ismael Ivo, formerly the director of the Venice Dance Biennial, to use the hall as the setting for the performance of one of his shows included in the famous Tones on the Stones festival.

The colours and striation of this marble are truly surprising: due to these characteristics, the marble extracted from the Ornavasso quarry was used over the centuries to build some of the masterpieces of Italian art. The largest of these is without a doubt Milan’s Duomo, built prevalently with the pink marble extracted in the nearby quarry in Candoglia, but the Arco della Pace in Corso Sempione in Milan, the façade of the Certosa di Pavia and the facing of the pillars in the Octagon of the Duomo di Pavia were all also created with marble extracted from the Ornavasso quarry.

During the summer season, Ornavasso quarry hosts cultural shows and concerts, turning itself into a truly unique natural backdrop. In the winter it becomes scenery of one of the best-loved and most famous Christmas events in Italy, the Grotta di Babbo Natale (Santa’s Grotto).

Besides offering scenic wonders at high altitudes, Ornavasso thus offers an opportunity for a journey into the bowels of the mountain which still contains within it the splendid shades of the stones that have helped to define some of the Italian artistic and architectural symbols best loved all over the world.

Info: www.anticacava.itinfo@anticacava.it

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Culture, traditions and folklore
Nature
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History and art
Ideal for
Everybody
You will discover
Culture, traditions and folklore
Nature
Rainy day?
History and art
IAT di Mergozzo
Corso Roma, 20
28802 Mergozzo (VB)
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