Italian Marble

Between January and July 2005, Italy’s exports of granite and marble amounted to 2,890,000 tons, worth 1,10,000,000 euro, up 3.3% in terms of quantity and down 1.9% in terms of value Year over Year, according to AGIonline.

That’s a lot of granite and marble.

Casa Gabriella is in the Lunigiana, just north of Massa-Carrara. When we had to put in a kitchen, they asked us what we’d like for countertops.

“So, what’s the inexpensive but nice option?” I asked.


Ok, that’s surprising to someone expecting to hear something like, “plywood with a nice faux finish,” or some such.

“Marble is the local countertop material. Comes from just over the hill.”

It’s the durability of it all that amazes me. I live in a place where houses are made of wood. Termites have a field day. Rot sets in. Existence in California is so darn…temporary.

Then you go to Italy and see a house you like. You think, “holy cow! it looks danged indestructable!”

And it pretty much is. Until you get a leak in the roof somewheres and they tell you it’s gonna run you a cool thousand Euros to get someone to build scaffolding for a couple days in order to get up there and jiggle the tile that’s no doubt wiggled itself out of place.

“Can’t they just….”

“No, it’s the law. You got to get the scaffolding.”

Itemized cost of the project:

Putting the tile in place: 1.50 Euros
Build scaffolding: 998.50 Euros

...or something like that.

But still, the walls are gonna be there for centuries. Well, unless there’s a big earthquake. Not much give in a stone wall.

And you wanna hang a picture? You gotta practically jackhammer a fixture into the wall.

But the picture will be there when you return. And if you need to, you can hang your hummer from the same hook.

So my mom visits and watches me prepare to hang a picture.

“Don’t you have to look for the studs?” she asks.

“You’re looking at all the studs we got,” I tell her, picking up the super high speed drill with the super-titanium bit while watching my bicepts flex under the load.

It takes a stud to drill a hole in Italy, believe me.

Italian Marble originally appeared on , updated: Nov 04, 2005 © .

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