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In The Quarries

in the Berici Hills

Since antiquity, people have been carving out of the rocky surface of Berici Hills what in time has come to be known as Vicenza Stone.

Limestone was in older days digged out of quarries in Costozza, Nanto, Lumignano, Villabalzana, Zovencedo, San Gottardo, Pederiva, S. Germano and Sarego with primitive tools like picks and wooden nails and cut into square blocks up to 4 mt large that were carried to the valleys and towns on oxcarts.

When Berica Stone is digged out of the side of the hill, it is soft and easy to work, but it immediately starts to get harder. Palaeoveneti tombstones, Roman altars, milestones, bas-reliefs and road-shrines testify to a very ancient use of Berica Stone.

Palladio used it in the frames of doors and windows, columns, decorations and statues of the villas he designed, as many skilled local artists still do today.

Another material that was extracted from quarries in Berici Hills was coal: from Gazzo quarry in Val Liona they would extract wood-coal until WWII. Little traces remain of that activity today: the obstructed entrance to the tunnel, an iron mining truck and a shrine dedicated to St.Babara, protector of miners and stone-cutters.

In the valleys of Fimon, Brendola, Villa dei Ferro and S.Germano near lakes or watercourses peat used to be digged out by men, women would then spread it in the sun to dry and eventually take it to markets and selling points by carts.

Silica sand from the large deposit on Pozzolo Plateau was employed since the 18th century in Padua and Venice glass-workshop. Still used in foundries, concrete- and chemical industries, it was especially sought-for during the war periods (during WWII up to 120 miners worked in the quarry).