The Candoglia Marble and the “Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano”: A Renowned Georesource to Be Potentially Designed as Global Heritage Stone
Marbles from Alpine area have been widely employed to build and decorate masterpieces and buildings which often represent the cultural heritage of an area (statuary, historic buildings and sculptures). Candoglia marble, object of the present research, is one of the most famous and appreciated marbles from Alpine area; it has been quarried since Roman times in the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (VCO; Piemonte—NW Italy) extractive area. Candoglia Marble outcrops are present as lenses within the high-grade paragneisses of the Ivrea Zone, a visible section of deep continental crust characterised by amphibolite- to granulite-facies metamorphism (Palaeozoic period). Candoglia calcitic marble (80–85% CaCO3 and the 15–20% other minerals) shows a characteristic pink to gray colour and a coarse-grained texture (>3 mm): frequent centimetre-thick dark-greenish silicate layers (mainly represented by diopside and tremolite) characterize the texture of the marble. It has been largely used in local rural constructions and historical buildings, but its most famous application has been (and still is) for the “Duomo di Milano” construction (fourteenth century). The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano carried out the anthropogenic activities dealing with the Candoglia marble exploitation; it has to be highlighted that the company have managed the Marble exploitation during the last seven centuries and that the quarry itself is a tangible sign of the development of extraction and heritage in the VCO area. Candoglia marble can be recognized as a significant example of a “Global Heritage Stone Resource”: its exploitation from quarry to building (the Duomo di Milano) well represents the close correlation between stone and cultural heritage, between georesources and humankind development.