Sites & cities that bear the name of Colonnata


Today in : Italy
First trace of activity : 40 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today

Description : Colonnata is an Italian ancient village and a hamlet (frazione) of the comune of Carrara, (Massa-Carrara, Tuscany). It is situated in the Apuan Alps, and is known worldwide for the pork fat delicacy Lardo di Colonnata, and for its marble quarries. Colonnata's history dates back to its settlement, around 40 BC. It was built for the housing of slaves used in quarrying marble after Rome decided to replace expensive imported Greek marble with local (Luni) marble. The name of the settlement is believed derived from the Latin word columna, indicating the place where columns of marble were extracted to be sent to Rome, but the origin of the name could also be the Latin collis ("hill") or columen ( "top"). The quarries may also have been used by the Ligurian Apuani tribe, who were perhaps also used later as quarrying experts. Evidence of mining activity dating back to the 6th century BC has been found at "Fossa Carbonera", Fantiscritti. Based on a stone found in 1810 bearing the names of the consuls of the years 16 - 22 AD, it appears that the settlement was run by settlers and a magistrate, all of servile origin, who oversaw the work. Additional records date back only to the 13th century, while the church of the village is believed to date back to the 12th century. It's possible, however, that in the Middle Ages Colonnata was used as a defensive stronghold for those who controlled these areas after the Roman Empire (the Byzantines, the Goths and Lombards). The village is still mainly supported by mining. The breeding of pigs, promoted by the abundance of chestnut trees, was introduced to Colonnata, perhaps by the Lombards. Over time, this industry evolved, in particular processing freshly slaughtered meat, which was used as bread spread by the quarrymen, thus starting the traditional production of the famous pork fat delicacy, Lardo di Colonnata.

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