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The Ornavasso quarry

The Ornavasso quarry is a historical-archaeological and naturalistic complex of extraordinary interest, which attracts thousands of tourists and visitors every year by its breathtaking marble interior.

The geological outcrops, rich in history and art, are located upstream of the alluvial fan of the San Carlo torrent, between the Sanctuary of the Guardia and the fortifications of the Cadorna Line.

 

This underground quarry allows you to admire the majesty of nature and the different excavation techniques. Ornavasso marble has been around since Roman times, as documented by steles and altars from the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD. They are preserved in the Civic Archaeological Collections of the Sforzesco Castle in Milan.
Many monuments of the Lombardy area has favored Ornavasso marble for their numerous and notable projects dating back to the thirteenth century.
 

Within the Ornavasso valley, there is a beautiful waterway which moves from the Toce to Lake Maggiore, to the Ticino and the Naviglio Grande, and up to the Darsena of Milan, the quarry is connected to this waterway.

History of the quarry

Roman Times

Thirteenth Century

Sixteenth Century 

The Ornavasso quarry contains marble and granite that has been around since Roman times, as documented by steles and altars from the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD. They are preserved in the Civic Archaeological Collections of the Sforzesco Castle in Milan.

Ornavasso marble has given life to well known masterpieces of Italian art, including the Milan Cathedral, which displays the marble in its external cladding and floor slabs. The marble is also seen in the facade of the Certosa di Pavia and the cladding of the pillars in the Octagon of the Pavia Cathedral. For centuries, construction sites have occupied the Ornavasso quarries from the sixteenth century onwards.

Ornavasso marble is highly sought out and beautifully displayed in several places such as: the coverings of the apses of San Carlo and Santa Cristina in Turin, the altar and pinnacles of the church of Busto Arsizio, the altar of the Church of Sestriere, the church of San Fedele and the Arco della Pace in Corso Sempione in Milan. Additionally, well-known artists such as Giò Pomodoro and Giancarlo Sangregorio have sought Ornavasso marble for their artworks. 

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