Cava Valsora

Biolago di Cava Valsora


Useful Information

Location: Via dei Colli, 54100 Massa MS.
(44.066350, 10.222314)
Open: All year Sat, Sun, Hol 10-20.
[2023]
Fee: Adults EUR 8, Children (14-18) EUR 5, Children (0-13) free.
[2023]
Classification: MineLimestone Quarries and Mine (Carrara marble)
Light: n/a
Dimension:
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Cava Valsora, Via dei Colli, 54100 Massa MS, Tel: +39-335-121-4775. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

2012 territory included in the Regional Natural Park of the Apuan Alps become UNESCO Wold GeoPark.
2018 Symbiosis project founded.
2019 Valsora project presented at the Mountain Festival.
2020 begin of renovation and stabilization of the site.
2021 access walkway to the biolake constructed.,

Geology

The Apuan Alps are part of the Tuscan sub-Apennine area and are a mountain range located in the north-west of Tuscany. They are rightly called Alps as they were formed by the same orogeny which also formed the Alps, the Alpine orogeny. The massive layers of limestone were transformed into metamorphic marble. The marble is of very high quality, and so it was used for sculptures and buildings since Roman times.

Description

Cava Valsora (Valsora Quarry) is one of the famous marble quarries of Carrara. Unlike others, it is not in operation anymore. And while we listed it as a mine, it is actually a biological reserve, because there is the so-called Biolago di Cava Valsora. The lake is home to the Apuan Alpine Newt, a species of tailed amphibians of the Salamander family. Females are 10-12 cm long, while males are 8-9 cm long. They are very colourful, the males range from light blue to grey-blue, the sides of the head and body fade from white to silver with black specks, and further down there is a bright blue area bordering the orange ventral side. The females are brownish, grey, greenish or almost black, often with evident marbling.

The Cava Valsora biolake is an emerald-colored body of water surrounded by high marble walls which show the cutting of the marble quarrying. The anthropic lake formed in 2016 in the quarry after quarrying was abandoned. There were obviously pumps that drained the lower part of the quarry, and when the quarry was closed they were turned off. Rainwater, in combination with the marble dust and gravel which remained from the cutting of the blocks, created a lake with a high mineral content. In the shadow of the quarry walls, the water remains most of the year. A specific plant species soon grew in the lake, the algae Chara virgata, a very old and widespread algea which exists for 500 Million years. It appears all over the World, in Europe, Asia and North America, and is considered an indicator of oligotrophic waters.

The lake became quite famous in 2022, when a crew of photographers from National Geographic magazine made underwater shots, which were later published in the magazine.

This site is the result of the work of the Symbiosis project, the collaborative relationship between the Angeloni company, concessionaire of the quarry site, and a group of master's degree students in Sustainable Architecture and Landscape Design from the Polytechnic of Milan. They planned a sustainable development of the site through environmental and landscape protection and redevelopment. Educational signs were erected for the visitors on self-guided tours. There are also guided tours, which explain both the biology and the geology of the site. This also includes the techniques used for quarrying and processing of the marble.