Direct from Italy: How We Source your Marble Tops

Tour Florence & Carrara with Senior Designers Alicia Saso and Emily Kreber 

We’re proud to partner with Calia Stone Boutique to offer you the finest quality natural stone countertops direct from the Tuscany region of Italy. In fact, senior Designers Alicia Saso and Emily Kreber just returned from the source. 

Join them as they peel back the curtain to show you the origins of your future countertops, backsplashes and more.

Inside the Mountain:

Fun fact: most of the marble exported from this region ends up in cosmetics and other uncelebrated roles. Great pieces are hard to find, as they say, which makes the big, intact, sturdy and visually stunning pieces of build-ready marble particularly sought-after.

80% of the marble from Florence and Carrara is used in manufacturing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste and, yes, even food! The fine marble power is used for its properties as a colorant or filler, providing texture and body to products. Marble is mostly calcium carbonate, after all – which is important for bone health, dental health, muscle function and more.

 Alicia and Emily did not take any big bites of the precious marbles slab they saw. They did, however, find themselves drooling over the natural beauty of the region and the stunning stones that can be polished into works of art and installed in your home.



The Journey of the Marble Slabs: 

Once marble blocks suitable for cutting into countertops and other home applications are identified and carefully sorted – based on patterns, veining, overall movement, and colors – they are moved with massive cranes designed to handle them with care. Blocks can weigh up to 40,000 pounds. Next, they’ll be sliced into slabs using saws that utilize extremely high water pressure to make precision cuts.

The families at the helm of this segment of the supply chain have honed their craftsmanship over generations. They prioritize the highest quality slabs, renowned for their unparalleled beauty, and dedicate meticulous care to preserve their distinctiveness. Each slab is processed with the utmost precision, ensuring its unique qualities are showcased to their fullest potential

Furthermore, these families are selective in forging relationships with suppliers, partnering exclusively with companies that share their profound appreciation for quality and the artistic expression embodied in the natural stones extracted from the region. This ensures that every piece not only meets the highest standards of excellence but also contributes to a legacy of beauty and craftsmanship.

Here you can see the precision cutting of marble blocks, achieved through advanced high-pressure water systems that slice through the stone with ease. Once cut, these slabs are then carefully transported on an automated conveyor, moving them efficiently to warehouses for initial polishing.

From there, they go to another warehouse to meet the caretakers who arrange the next step toward their final destinations. This is where the finest pieces are paired with preferred suppliers like Calia Stone Boutique.

“This is where the journey to the source became particularly insightful,” Alicia says. “Don’t let the names of marble types fool you. Not all ‘Carrara Marble’ is the same, for example. US companies with strong relationships and reputations for truly artistic work get the real stunners – the truly eye-popping pieces!”

How Veining and Patterns are Formed: 

Both Emily and Alicia note that a key a takeaway from the tour involves learning how patterns are created and understanding which varieties are particularly prized.

“Different sections of the mountain cause the rocks to oxidize in unique ways, producing a variety of color and pattern variations,” Emily notes. “Understanding the geological forces at play, identifying the best extraction sites, and the art of carefully removing each slab are crucial. The process is intricate, and witnessing it firsthand has significantly enhanced our appreciation for the end product.”

Emily and Alicia are excited to share their learnings. Their direct observations of the extraction and preparation processes are an insightful foundation for helping you with your natural stone needs.

“I understand the connection natural stone aficionados have for these precious surfaces,” Alicia says. “This is natural beauty – created by the raw elements of the earth over millenia. Life is too short not to enjoy this kind of beauty. To see it, touch it, and interact with it daily. As a designer, I understand why you’d want to bring this into your life.” 

Here’s a peek at some of the most interesting natural stone slabs they saw on the trip:

Marble in Art:

Alicia and Emily enjoyed meeting the families who have long stewarded the operations within the scenic Carrara mountains so rich with gorgeous marble. Imagine their surprise when they discovered that these are the very quarries that supplied marble for masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David, now in Florence, and numerous other statues that grace the town center’s walkways.

“Talk about a place rooted in the appreciation of marble,” Emily says. “Marble was everywhere – beautiful marble. Statues, bricks, walls, walkways… some of the streets even have marble curbs!”

“Luckily, Michaelangelo didn’t use it all,” Alicia adds with a laugh. “Your next kitchen can feature countertops, backsplashes, floors – you name it – from the same quarry that Michaelangelo’s David came from.”

Marble, Marble, Everywhere…

Europeans have long adored and relied on marble as a building material that elevates any space. Yes, there are things to learn as far as care and usage are concerned, but it is quite easy to get the hang of.

“Just look around Europe. It’s everywhere – it never looks dated,” Emily says. Emily studied in Italy for a year, it turns out. Her affinity for natural stone in design runs deep. “Returning here gives me so many ideas for home design. It’s truly inspiring to see natural stone used in so many ways!”

Click here for Part II of Alica and Emily’s Italian inspiration journey.