The Vanelli family's history of Carrara marble quarrying spans almost two centuries. Fiammetta Vanelli, not by chance, was born in Carrara with art and marble in her blood. As a cultured and visionary entrepreneur, philanthropist and tireless patron, Fiammetta organizes art exhibitions, promotes sculpture courses for young international students and collaborates with talented artists.
Today the brand FiammettaV is divided between home collection and Zona67, a brand of handmade marble jewelry.
The Vanelli family
In 1818, Duchess Maria Beatrice d'Este gave to Vanelli family the right to excavate the white marble of Carrara. And it is at this point in history, over two centuries ago, that the history of the Vanelli family begins. In 1936, Giorgio Vanelli's Vanelli Aldo Marmi company came to life. It deals with the extraction and trade of blocks of stone material, which are then processed in the sawmills of secondary processing. In 1960 Aldo Vanelli became the actual owner of the Quarry 67 area Mossa, in the Bettogli mountain. Many years later, in 2011, the family also bought the Quarry 66 Poggio Silvestre.
Once the extraction took place in the basement, today it has been moved only to the open air, on two sites at different heights. Quarry 67 in the Mossa area is located at 600 meters above sea level, from which different types of Carrara marble are extracted: from the precious Statuario to Bianco, from Bardiglio to different types of Venati.
The materials in blocks, semi-blocks or shapeless, are stored with mechanical shovels in yards away from the area of cultivation; from here they are transported downstream by means of external transporters on trucks suitable to travel the roads of castling. From the quarry of Poggio Silvestre, in turn, is extracted a white marble of first quality, with a history that dates back to antiquity. It is located on Mount Bettogli, in the Torana Basin.
Resources and safety in the quarry
In the past, up to 10 quarrymen were employed per quarry, but today, thanks to increasingly technological equipment, the company employs 5 quarrymen: quarry supervisor, cutters and handlers. Cultivation is carried out using the method of horizontal descending steps, i.e. proceeding from the top towards the valley to favour the rational use of the machines. The use of this method aims not only to facilitate the work, but also to work in total safety. In fact, starting from the top it is possible to establish the rock face (or tecchia) and prepare the safety operations, such as the nailing of the lithoclases and the rock protection nets.
Thanks to technological innovations, it has been possible to continuously improve the safety of the quarry. The company, which has always been at the forefront of the safety of its workers, following the introduction of the new ISO 45001:2018 for the Occupational Health and Safety Management System, renewed its latest certification, adapting immediately to contemporary requirements.
The cultivation and transport evolution in Carrara
The Carrara’s territory hosts three mining basins: the Torano basin, where the FiammettaV quarries are located, the Fantiscritti basin and the Colonnata basin. Today, in each of these basins, there are about 30 active quarries, united by the variety of marble produced thanks to the geological and morphological characteristics of the place.
Until the mid-twentieth century, the marble blocks were transported downstream tied to wooden beams, crossing the roads that led from the quarry square to the city. During the Second World War, all mining activities were interrupted until 1946. However, the roads had been damaged by constant bombing, and restoration was less economical than investing in new infrastructure. So, resurfacing was done to allow for truck transportation. The streets that were not modified, but only restored, were eventually dismantled and abandoned, and by the 1970s all streets were passable by the new means of transportation.
Fiammetta Vanelli was born with art and marble in her blood. In 1996 she founded Statuaria Arte, an artistic workshop where she welcomed designers able to experiment with new forms, shape the raw material and interpret marble by combining a millenary tradition of craftsmanship with robotic technology.
In 2017 she creates FiammettaV Home Collection: marble is conceived beyond its classical destination, giving life to shapes and colors in everyday life. The design objects are all produced in Carrara, near the quarries from which it is extracted: a dynamic and creative creation of masterpieces of craftsmanship carved in marble.