>> When Michelangelo climbed Mount Altissimo he found the marble of his dreams. The Renaissance master wanted to quarry the Tuscan mountain to create the facade of Florence's San Lorenzo church. He deemed this stone finer even than the famed marble of nearby Carrara, that was in 1517 but it was not to be during Michelangelo's lifetime.
He got Pope Leo X blessing and permission to take as much marble as he wanted in exchange for getting a quarry going. Workers curved out to rod up the mountain, but the artist then lost his commission, and San Lorenzo never did get its facade. Today years of use have created a cubus landscape even Michelangelo probably wouldn't have dream't of.
A quarry opened on Altissimo last in the first half of the 19th Century. There are five on the mountain now, all owned by stone specialists on row. So later artists have been luckier. Rodin and Henry Moore among many to sculpt a masterpiece from Altissimo's fine, sugary stone.