Francese Bay

Foto by Ferrigno

The quarry of Francese Bay arose in the second half of the 19th century, in a rocky area of ​compact granite in the west of the island. A key element added to the excellent quality of the stone to make its success: the installation’s proximity to the sea, which is deep enough to allow the boats’ landing and taking the worked pieces on board. The management of the Company “Graniti Sardi” by the Genoese Brothers Marcenaro and Grondona, fostered a remarkable development of the quarry and the formation of a specialized and skilled working class. Unlike other places, here the stone-masons (originally from Tuscany and Lombardy, then from La Maddalena) didn’t only produce slabs immensely popular in the big cities for road and tramway flooring; they specialized in specific pieces, such as decorations, sculptures and even monuments. The most famous monument is the one ordered by the Universal Company of the Suez Canal to commemorate the victorious war against the Turks for the Channel control (1915-1918), placed on the coast of Ismailia (1930). We can count some remarkable examples in La Maddalena too: the Garibaldi column (1907), Grondona’s grave, the support shelves to the balconies of the military buildings in Comando square.
In the second half of the 20th century, the quarry declined: after a period of abandon, it was restored and today is a small tourist village, where memory is preserved by split walls, finished pieces left in place, the old train which transported worked boulders, winches and tools that seem ready to live again and by a small museum under construction.

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