Marble – the white gold from Val Venosta
Lasa marble is a precious metamorphic limestone that is quarried from the north-eastern flank of the Ortles mountain group comprising app. 500 millions of cubic meters. The systematic extraction of “the white gold” in Lasa and at the nearby Covelano quarry in South Tyrol dates back a long time. The hard and resistant Lasa marble had already been used for the milestones of the Via Claudia Augusta Roman road in ancient times. The marble vain was then rediscovered in modern times. The precious Lasa marble has, however, been known throughout Europe since the 19th century. The much sought-after, weather-resistant Lasa marble was then mainly used for building churches and sculpting.
Today, Lasa marble is appreciated all around the world as a high-quality natural building material for prestige buildings. It was, among others, also used for the new Ground Zero subway station in New York. The marble and stone workers’ professional school, where young people can learn the craft of working stone and especially Lasa marble, reopened in Lasa in 1982, following the tradition of the old “Royal College for Stoneworking”. In this way, the marble village of Lasa is not just the centre of marble extraction in South Tyrol but also becomes a centre of art thanks to the popular Lasa marble. Artists and sculptors meet at the „Marble and Apricots“ festival to celebrate their skills every year.
Shining white marble blocks pile up at the foot of Monte Tramontana and wait to be transported with the help of the so-called Lasa marble railway line. This fascinating inclined plane railway, which has already become an industrial monument, started operation in 1930 and is still used in its original state. Lasa marble is still extracted in blocks that weigh up to 8 tons – just like in the past. In Lasa, interested visitors can take part in guided marble visits offered several times a week to experience the extraction, use and myth surrounding the famous Lasa marble at close quarters.
If you prefer finding out about Lasa marble on your own, you can choose a theme hiking path where you will get information about both extraction and marble in the middle of a magnificent nature.