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Carrara (Tuscany, Italy)

Cittá di Carrara

Last modified: 2020-12-28 by rob raeside
Keywords: carrara | tuscany | toscana | modena | massa carrara | lucca |
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by Roberto Breschi from CISV

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The Historical Flag

by Jaume Ollé, 25 January 1996

Carrara is located in the Tuscany region. The flag of Carrara is simple: white field with the shield.
Jaume Ollé, 25 January 1996

Carrara city was under the rule of the Ugolini family. After the end of this family rule it was under the rule of the Cybo family (princes of Massa 1568, dukes of Massa and princes of Carrara 1664) and when Cybo family rule ended,Carrara was transmited due to matrimony to Este Family (Modena rulers) 1741. Carrara was merged in 1805 into the pincipality of Lucca, but 1815 in Viena Congress was asigned (togheter with Massa) to Modena.
Jaume Ollé, 10 October 1998

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs: Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971 [nor71] (original print 1848):
196 Carrara - As above, except the blue is a wall of three layers of bricks, and what's yellow on our page is in three different colours: The chief is bright yellow, the crown is more orange like, indicating gold I expect, and the ribbon/frame (?) is red (and would merge with the gules field of the shield if it weren't for the thin black lines).
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001

I am History Ph.d and the man in charge in Taliercio School Library of Liceo Scientifico Marconi in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy.I am obliged to spoint out one mistake and also some eccentricity:
1. You write " ... Carrara city was under the rule of the Ugolini family." (?!?) - Ugolini family ? I never read or heard about any Ugolini family ruled in Carrara, not in history and not in the historical list of ancient families !
Shortly: Carrara in 951 a.D. was a little but important fortified borough, with its earl little fortess, under Obertus I°, Earl of Luni and Marquis of Eastern Liguria and also Earl of Palace of Roman German Emperor Otto I°, but in 963 a.D. the Emperor, fightning against Obertus, gave Carrara to Gotifred I°, Bishop of Luni. There was about one century of bishops' rule for Carrara, while the old earl fortress became a property of Bobbio monastery and the old noble family of Obertus divided itself into some branches of marquis, the Este family, the Pallavicino, the Marquis of Gavi, the Massa - Corsica family (ruled on Massa, Tuscany, also), the Brunswick and Marquis Malaspina family (ruled from Tortona and Voghera to Lunigiana and Bosa, Sardinia). There were ages of wars beetwen Luni Bishops and Malaspina Marquis, while in Carrara was growing the town municipality, totally free in 1253, and, above all, some biggest  Powers started to put under control Carrara and its white marble quarries !
1187 Rainieirus, Abbot of Bobbio, assigned the old city castle, the "Rocha de Cararia", to the sons of Marquis Obicius Malaspina I° the Great .
1215 Carrara was under Guglielmus Marquis of Massa - Corsica.
The Earl - Bishops of Luni again !
1265 Lord of Carrara was Enzus, son of the Emperor Fredericus II°.
1273 the Earl - Bishops of Luni again, with Enricus de Fucecchius.
1313 - 1322
Emperor Arrigus VII° stripped of all feudal authority the Earl - Bishops of Luni and assigned Carrara to the Republic of Pisa.
1322 - 1328 The warlord of Lucca, Castruccio Castracani, took Carrara.
1329 one Malaspina again, Marquis Spinetta the Great from Fivizzano.
1343 - 1404
Carrara was under the rule of Visconti family, the Dukes of Milan.
1404 - 1436
Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca ruled on Carrara.
1437 - 1446
The Visconti from Milan again.
1448 - 1472
Carra had an own local prince, Spinetta di Campo Fregoso, who transformed the old castle in a beautiful little royal palace (today Fine Art Academy of Carrara !).
1473 Jacopo Malaspina, Marquis of Massa became the new lord of Carrara also, and the two neighbouring cities formed the little state of Malaspina, from 1519 linked with Cybo family and then with Maria Teresa Cybo Malaspina linked with Este family, the Duke of Modena. The last local lord of Massa and Carrara was until 1824, Maria Beatrice Cybo Malaspina Este.
2. From middle age the only flag of Carrara was its gonfalone: the old gold wheel, with the Latin motto "Fortitudo mea in rota", the flag you show maybe was a gonfalone of Malaspina of Massa (without the spicked mace), sure something linked like Marquis Malaspina with Roman German Empire as the blackeagle tell us.
Renato Vita, 26 March 2002

Information you refer has origin in me, and is was taken from Hispano Americana Enciclopaedya that say in Volume 11 page 1294:
"Del siglo XIII data la fundacion de la iglesia de San Andres, atribuida al celebre arquitecto pisano Andrea Ugolino. La casa de este dominó en Carrara durante bastante tiempo siendo sustituida por la de los Cybo..." (from the XIII century is the creation of the Church of St Andrew, attribued to famous architect from Pisa, Andrea Ugolino. The House of this dominated Carrara for enough time, and was substitued by the House of Cybo).
Jaume Ollé, 27 March 2002

I wish to add some comments to Renato Vita's message about Carrara flag, since he is raising some important points to keep in mind when dealing with Italian vexillological matters.
He is right and he is wrong when he states "From middle age the only flag of Carrara was its gonfalone: the old gold wheel, with the Latin motto "Fortitudo mea in rota", the flag you show maybe was a gonfalone of Malaspina of Massa (without the spicked mace), sure something linked like Marquis Malaspina with Roman German Empire as the blackeagle tell us."
Actually, what he is saying here is true, since in Italy the gonfalon only has an official status, requiring a President's decree (for Carrara: August 1st, 1972. Its origin are a lot older, though!), while the civic flags need a simple decision from the city masterhood. Going back to ancient times the possible configurations of civic flags were rather complex: the gonfalone was a sacred standard for most of the Italian communities, however it had to compete against Lords'banners, organisations' and parties'flags and Church insignia for the predominance. Things changed drammatically when the merchant traffics on sea started to flourish in the Mediterranean area and the European Atlantic routes. At this point Vita is wrong: Carrara had flags to distinguish her on the seas, as every town owning a merchant fleet. These flags did not compete against the gonfalone, which remained (and remains) a ground-based symbol, and appeared on a number of flag charts and vexillological sources at least from the XVII century on. The Dukedom of Massa and Principality of Carrara had maritime ensigns: two of their images are preserved for example in one of the documents at the State Archive of Massa and date to 1670 and 1684. They are white and display two different models of Alberico II's coat of arms at the center. They are still referred to in a letter of 1830 to the Duke of Modena, then ruler of the area, a letter now available at the State Archive of Modena. It is important to note that we are not presenting a flag of the city of Carrara, but the ensign to be used on the ships of that town (and the others running patents granted by the government of Massa and Carrara). White ensigns with State arms remained in use till 1796, when the French troops invaded the territory and shortly after joined the old state to the newly constituted Repubblica Cispadana. Massa and Carrara then followed the events of the Napoleonic republics in Northern Italy to 1815. At that point no fleet survived and the white flags flew on the coastal fortresses only. It took some years before ships were again flying an ensign, yet a different one: that of the Estense Dukedom (the red white red horizontal tricolour with a blue / white / blue pale). In 1848 Massa and Carrara merged into the Grand-Duchy of Tuscany, using her tricolour until 1849, when they were re-assigned to Modena. Finally, in 1859 the Duke's troops left the territory and a provisional government raised the Italian tricolour with the Savoy shield. There are many references for "Carrara" ensigns, among which I found of best help:
[sig12] Die Flagge, R. Siegel (Vize-Admiral), Dietrich Reimer, Berlin, 1912; [aai] Le bandiere degli Stati italiani, 5) Gli Stati della Toscana, A) Massa e Carrara, Aldo Ziggioto, in Armi Antiche - Numero speciale per il 4° Congresso Internazionale di Vessillologia, Accademia di s.Marciano, Torino, 1971 (Proceedings of the fourth International congress of Vexillology, Turin, 24-27 June 1971); La Marina di Avenza tra Vele e Bandiere, Pietro di Pierro, Aldus, Carrara, 1997 (a book not included in FOTW's bibliography: a very valuable source of information for Massa and Carrara ensigns, language: Italian, pages: 73 + 7 colour tables, no ISBN, format: 15x21 cm (basexspine)).
Pier Paolo Lugli, 15 April 2002

The Gonfalone

by Bruno Fracasso, 4 January 2001

It is impossible that the flag of Carrara is that shown above. In fact here is the gonfalon and it hasn't got the above coat of arms in the center.
Bruno Fracasso, 4 January 2001

From <>:
"GONFALONE - Drappo d'azzurro riccamente ornato di ricami d'oro e caricato dello stemma comunale con l'iscrizione centrata in oro: «Città di Carrara» (Decreto del Presidente della Repubblica in data 1 agosto 1972).
Un bassorilievo sulla facciate della casa ora detta Repetti, antica sede del comune, risalente al XIII secolo, è ritenuto una delle prime raffigurazioni dello stemma di Carrara. Il suo simbolo è la ruota, da sempre emblema del lavoro dei suoi abitanti. Sulle ruote è stato trasportato il marmo dalle cave delle montagne agli approdi del mare. Un'altra interpretazione vuole che la ruota alluda all'antico termine germanico Rode, da cui «la ruota» o «alla ruota», che anticamente indicava i terreni che si iniziavano a dissodare. Successivamente, proprio su di essi si sviluppò la città. Non risultano notizie su quando Carrara fu dichiarata «Città». Probabilmente essa fu considerata tale sin da quando il territorio della sua comunità fu elevato a marchesato dall'imperatore Massimiliano II, il 23 agosto 1568. Il titolo di marcbesato è confermato dalla corona posta sopra lo stemma, concessa con regio decreto in data 10 dicembre 1942 e confermata dal Presidente del Consiglio dei ministri in data 6 febbraio 1969. Quello di città è implicitamente confermato dai decreti sopra citati. "
Dov Gutterman, 30 July 2002