Arabesco Orobico marble quarries
, commercially known as “Arabescato Orobico” marble, (1) one of the most characteristic stones of the province of Bergamo, is quarried in Camerata Cornello (Bergamo) in Valle Brembana, at the “Serino Scaravino” quarries near Cespedosio where there are some dove bands of rocks belonging to the Triassic formation of Red Limestone. In the past, especially from the 17th century onwards, its beautiful designs and excellent polishing capacity made Orobic Marble a material in great demand, mainly for marble inlay work, for furnishings and for architectonic details in churches and aristocratic residences: it was used in almost all the churches in the province of Bergamo to embellish altars, balustrades, floors and columns. However, the fame and use of a special and fine marble such as Orobico are not restricted to the province of Bergamo: some large slabs (about 180 x 180 cm) were also laid in the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, alongside world famous marbles. Orobico marble runs through the whole of the history of Italian art and architecture from the floor to the base of the Pietà by Michelangelo (St. Peter’s, Rome) to the floor of the new Trade Fair in Bergamo.
In 1858 in his “Notizie statistiche della Provincia di Bergamo in ordine storico” (“Statistical information of the Province of Bergamo in historical order”) Gabriele Rosa wrote “- After the mountains of Verona, those of the province of Bergamo are the richest in Lombard Veneto of Marbles, Stones, Earths and other minerals of use to industry. -”
Mr. Paolino Gervasoni, , who with his tenacity, succeeded in giving Orobic Marble a name and boosting its use, said: “Once the quarries were exploited, now they are carefully tended. “ Many years ago, using explosives, there was an excessive waste of material, now we advance in small steps, using modern technologies that use diamond cutting threads and blades, without waste, limiting excavation to those points where the material necessary effectively exists.
(1) Commercially, stones are traditionally classified according to a terminology which has little relation to that of petrography, which classifies stones in marbles, granites, stones or travertine depending on the hardness or type of cutting they require. This means that all rocks mainly made up of calcium carbonate are called marble, independently of their geological origin: both the metamorphic calcium carbonate rocks (marble) and the sedimentary rocks belong commercially to the category of marble. Although it is known as Arabescato Orobico Marble, from a petrographic point of view, Orobic Marble is a veined limestone.