A thousand years old, but doesn’t look it: a thousand years in fine form
Our marble has been well known since antiquity. Epigraphs, altars and tables found at archaeological sites testify to the fact that it has been quarried and used since at least the 1st century AD.
Zandobbio marble was used for the large stones of the walls of Romanesque churches, such as the parish of San Giorgio in Campis in Zandobbio (10th–11th century) and, above all, some of Bergamo’s symbolic monuments: Porta San Giacomo, the Angelo Mai Library and the famous Contarini Fountain, which is the focus of Piazza Vecchia and, in a certain way, the entire city.
Its use in architectural details and monumental works continued until the early 20th century. Subsequently dolomite came to be exploited for a different but profitable use: as a granulate for the glass industry and an aggregate for the production of concrete.
The quarrying of cut blocks became a viable production once more when the historic Vescovi quarry was reopened near the centre of Zandobbio in 2004. And so this precious ornamental material is being used once more for urban furnishings (benches, fountains and columns), slabs for exterior and interior cladding (bathrooms, stairs and floors), and the restoration of churches and historical buildings. In February 2008, in Via XX Settembre in the heart of the Lower City, officials inaugurated the two Prato columns in pink Zandobbio marble where the ancient columns delimiting the area of the Fiera di Sant’Alessandro, which were removed in 1882, once stood. They are the symbol of a fundamental stoneworking tradition.