Apuan Alps Unesco Geopark
When looking at the sharp-shaped peaks of the Apuan Alps, you might think a fragment of Dolomites has magically fallen into this part of Italy.
The so-called Marble Mountains, are indeed very different in their morphology and geology to the nearby Apennines. With their rugged peaks overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and heart full of precious marble, they have been one of the most interesting and challenging destinations for geologists and explores since the end of the18th century.
Before that period only few dared to adventure here unless to quarry its white marble, starting from the Romans and attracting later architects and artists such as Michelangelo who chose in these mountains the best blocks for his eternal masterpieces.
While an underground world discloses a unique maze of deep abysses and caves decorated with amazing concretions of stalactites and stalagmites, idyllic waterfalls, rivers and tiny lakes.
This great geo and biodiversity, as well as the history of man that have shaped these mountains for centuries, have resulted in 2015 in the recognition of the Regional Park as a Unesco Global Geopark.
Though the Carrara marble quarries have become one of the major attractions for tourists from all over the world, they are in contrast with the preservation of this fragile territory and luckily this activity is not prevalent in the area.
In fact, the range of outdoor activities one can enjoy in the Apuan Alps is simply incredible.
Hiking or cycling are certainly the most popular, but the marble mountains are also a paradise for those seeking some extra adrenaline offering several possibilities for trekking, climbing and canyoning.