Colonnata is a small town in northern Tuscany, almost on the border of Liguria. It is known worldwide basically for two principal things: lard and marble.
What seems to bind everything together is the color white: the mountains, the marble and the lard. This unusual landscape can be admired from the beach (Versilia) and from the town of Colonnata itself.
This little town, which is tucked into the Tuscan mountainside, is definitely out of ordinary and it also conceals an interesting history and several curiosities.
Curiosities on Collonata
- The first settlements in this area occurred in 40 b.C. The Romans brought their slaves with the purpose of making them work in the marble “industry”. The slaves who began to settle in this area established the origins of the population in Colonnata.
- The road you take to reach Colonnata is the same one that has been used for centuries by famous architects and sculptors to reach the caves so they could select the perfect marble.
- The Roman slaves, who only had marble and pigs in their immediate surroundings, learned how to work the pork with marble. Still today, lard is placed into basins that are made of marble, and covered with salt, herbs and garlic, a method that was used by the slaves. At this point, the lard is left to season for 6-10 months, and the result is the Colonnata Lard that can be found in the most expensive restaurants around the world.
- Lard continues to be the preferred snack of the miners who savor it on a piece of bread with tomatoes or onions and a glass of red wine, a tradition that has been going on for centuries.
- Lard ensured enough energy to bear the cold of winter and to work in the caves.
- Lard is currently a product that is protected by IGP (Protected Geographical Indication: given by the European Union to those agricultural products and foodstuffs for which a given quality, reputation or other characteristic depends on their geographical origin, and whose production, processing and / or preparation takes place in its given geographical area.)
- Colonnata’s inhabitants discourage the use of butter or oil with lard, otherwise the dish becomes too greasy.
- The excavated marble was used by the Romans to build roads, buildings and statues throughout Roman lands in place of the expensive marble that arrived from Greece.
- Legend says that Michelangelo Buonarotti, sculptor of the famous David in Florence and the famous Pietà in the Vatican, came to Colonnata to personally choose the marble he used for his works of art. Legend also says that Michelangelo was greedy for Lard! Try it to believe it!
Did you know?
The David was carved from a single block of marble that two other sculptors, Agostino Duccio and Antonio Rossellino, discarded because of an imperfection. This is why the famous David has a “hole” in the back. Michelangelo was aware of the marble defect and what has emerged, from a letter written by the Master, that a muscle could not be reproduced because of a defect in the marble block.