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If You Go To Carrara, Italy

The best way:

By plane: Fly into Pisa International Airport and drive about 50 minutes north to Carrara. From the airport, take the Superstrada Firenze Pisa Livorno ramp. Follow A12/E80 to Carrara. Take the Carrara exit from A12/E80.

By train: From Pisa Central Station take Trenitalia 11852 La Spezia Centrale to the Carrara-Avenza station, which should take about 45 minutes. From there you can either catch a bus to downtown Carrara and Piazza Alberica or take a 10-minute taxi ride.

Where to stay:

The Alberica 10 B&B is located in this old building but don't let that fool you. The rooms are ultra-modern and look like they were recently renovated. Ceilings, walls floors and furnishings are white and some rooms come with a spectacular view of the colorful Piazza Alberica, which is closed to traffic. Silvia, the owner is very accommodating and tried to help me with my family search via several dozen emails before the trip.

Alberica 10 B&B: Piazza Alberica 10/A Carrara, Italy; Tel: +39 0585 72817, Cell: +39 339 840 7055; website; about $128 per night for a double room.

Remember When (Bed, Wine, and Breakfast): Via Beccheria, 1/C, Carrara, Italy; Tel: +39 331 711 2849; website; about $93 per night for a double room.

Hotel Dora: Via Apuana, 3, Carrara, Italy; +39 0585 70634; website; about $93 per night for a double room.

Where to eat:

The homemade pasta here is like eating puffy clouds that melt in your mouth.

Ristorante Roma: Piazza Cesare Battisti, 1, Carrara, Italy; Tel: +39 366 2715171; website; Very reasonable with entrees between $8-$15 on average.

Ristorante Il ReBacco: Via Loris Giorgi, 5, Carrara, Italy; Tel: +39 0585 776778; website; Entrees between $10-$20 on average. Try the lardo di Colonnata appetizer. It's paper-thin slices of pork fat that's been cured inside a marble vessel for about six months. This is a traditional dish of the area and was what stoneworkers in the quarries ate for lunch.

Caffetteria Leon D'Oro: Via Diramazione per Carrara, 9, Piazza Alberica, Carrara, Italy; Facebook page. Great place for a quick bite for breakfast or lunch or for a drink. Very inexpensive, sandwiches cost between $5-$7.

To learn more:

Cave di Marmo Tours: Strada Comunale per Colonnata, 1, Colonnata MS, Italy; Tel: +39 0585 18 100 37; Email: info@cavedimarmotours.com; website. The 1 hour and 25-minute-tour costs 20 euro per person or 40 euro per person if you're picked up in the city of Carrara. The ride up the mountain is not for the faint of heart but the adventure is worth it and tour guide Gabriele Guintoni is knowleable and happy to answer any question you have. Tour starts and ends at a souvenir shop where reasonable priced items made of Carrara marble can be purchased.

Carrara Marble Tours: via Fantiscritti, 2 Carrara, Italy; Tel: +39 0585 779673; Email: info@carraramarbletour.it. Reservations are required only for groups over 20. Otherwise your advised to show up at the meeting point by the Fantiscritti quarry yard to join the first available tour. Open March 1 - Nov. 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 50-minute tour costs 12 euro per person; 6 euro for children up to 6-years-old.

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