The Granite Quarries

Already the ancient Romans, expert masters, had labored in the active mining of the Lily granite to be used in great abundance in their constructions. The first, of the 22 quarries later opened and scattered throughout the island was theirs. Lily granite was especially prized for its color, solidity, and the ease with which it took polish. It was used to build the beautiful Roman villa of the Domizi Enobarbi that stretched from the Castellare to the Saracen cove. For the construction of the Roman Villa of Giannutri, belonging to the same family, where the columns of the ruins of the Temple of Diana still stand tall. They also did not fail to use it in Rome in some of the most famous monuments.

the Romans

After the fall of the Empire

But even after the fall of the Roman Empire Gigliese granite did not stop traveling throughout Italy we find it in as many as eight columns in the Baptistery of Florence, twenty-four in the Cathedral of Pisa, one, solitary, in the church of Crisostomo in Trastevere in Rome, twelve in Naples in the church of the Gerosolini, twelve, fluted and with capitals divide the aisles of the Church of the Servants of Mary in Siena, eight in the facade of the Royal Palace in Naples four in the entrance to the Bonicelli palace in Rome, and the one in the center of the Innocent Pier in Anzio. Also coming from Giglio was the column that, until a few years ago, was in the cathedral square in Orbetello, erected in honor of Grand Duke Ferdinand III. Giglio granite even reached the Americas at one point, in the port of Santa Fe and in Jerusalem to adorn the Church of the Holy Cross.

castello4 4
porto 186

Granite on the Island

So the Giglio people, few in number and paid by the day or piecework, with endless hours, with their granite, extracted with difficulty from cliffs, slopes and wherever it could be mined, beautified a beautiful little piece of Italy, without forgetting to beautify Giglio itself and their homes. From the walls of Giglio Castello, to the paving of the peso streets, from the cisterns for collecting water, to the bollards of the harbor, from the wash houses to the fountains everything was carved and shaped from granite. A unique granite, in color, moldability, and luster, inlaid often with quartz and other stones that marked at the same time the fortune of the material and the misfortune of the stonemasons forced to avoid splinters in their eyes.

What remains

After Marconi, the last stalwart stonemason, who every day beat with his chisel some slab of granite, to make it an ashtray, a piece of furniture or whatever, sitting on a stool along the road to go to the Spiaggia delle Cannelle, among curious tourists and young Giglio people distracted by the sea, after Marconi there were no more stonemasons left in Giglio. What still remains are these objects, jealously guarded in our homes, the baptismal fonts of the Churches of Giglio Porto and Giglio Castello, and the Column to the Fallen of World War I, erected Piazza Gloriosa in Giglio Castello, in 1923 by stonemason Giuseppe Stefanini.

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  1. Cannelle Quarry: GRANITE
  2. Ficaiaccia Quarry: GRANITE
  3. Lazaretto Quarry: GRANITE
  4. Pigeon Quarry: GRANITE
  5. Arenella Quarry: GRANITE
  6. Fenaio Quarry: GRANITE
  7. Shooter Quarry: GRANITE
  8. Campese Quarry: GRANITE
  9. Saline Quarry: GRANITE
  10. Ortana Valley Quarry: CALCARE.
  11. Poggio della Chiusa Quarry: GRANITE
  12. -13.- 12.- The three Castelluccio quarries: GRANITE
  13. Priest’s Water Quarry: GRANITE
  14. Caldane Quarry: GRANITE
  15. Torricella Quarry: GRANITE
  16. Tree Quarry: GRANITE
  17. Struts Quarry: GRANITE
  18. Middle Cove Quarry: GRANITE
  19. Cala Cupa Quarry: GRANITE
  20. Alum Quarry: rock alum.