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Technological improvements

of the Berici Hills

A revolution in technology

After WWII the stone-cutting industry gets quickly mechanized, leaving traditional instruments and techniques far behind.

During the 50s, mechanical excavation is brought to Berici Hills as the road-system improves. The quantity, quality and size of the material a new Italy under re-building requires constantly increase.

The excavation is sped-up by new chain-saw machines called "moles" because of the way they dig their way into the rocks.It is a 1.3 m long bar with steel prongs all along the brim,fixed to cart that moves both ontally and vertically.

After the "mole" has cut out a square in the stone surface, a block is removed by inserting wooden pegs deep around it.

Brocken blocks are left in out-of-the-way spots inthe quarry. Block are loaded onto lorries by mechanical belts and taken to those ateliers that mostly are were they have been for centuries: at the feet of the Hills, like Grancona, Sossano and Nanto.

Modern systems of stone excavation do not anyway imply higher quantity of excavated material: statistically, data about excavated material are today equal to those recorded in 1926 by geologist Ramiro Fabiani.

The impact of quarries on the environment is quite minimal, as they develop towards the inside of the hills, with little destruction of superficial vegetation. Once the block has got to the atelier it is cut into slabs and smaller pieces.

Slabs are refined and polished to make floor-tiles, while circular features like columns, balcony-slabs and pots are worked at the wheel. Stone-cutting has been made easier by mechanical instruments, yet deatails and artistic decorations are all hand-made: there is still a lot of individual skill in stone-cutting, and that is what makes every piece unique.