The Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara is one of the most ancient in the world and the most prestigious for the teaching of Sculpture. It is the core of the most important centre for the extraction and processing of the famous "Carrara marble", a precious limestone with a brilliant white crystalline structure. This stone is extracted in the nearby Apuan Alps. Looking toward these mountains, Carrara is settled within the unspoiled frame of the historic marble basins of Ravaccione, Fantiscritti and Colonnata. Its monumental centre looks surrounded by the natural environment of the hills at the bottom of the Apuan Alps, but it is also few kilometres far from the famous beaches of Versilia.
The Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara was founded in 1769 by Maria Teresa Cybo, Duchess of Massa and Princess of Carrara, wife of Ercole Rinaldo d'Este, Duke of Modena. The Academy was created precisely for promoting plastic arts, supporting at the same time marble industry and trade. The most notorious sculptors of the past, including Antonio Canova, came to Carrara and began to have contacts with the Academy, attracted by the possibility of having the most precious marbles of that time: many of them donated "casts" and "plasters" to allow the Institute to equip itself with a collection, still available to scholars and students.
The Summer School of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara is located in a historic seat just a few minutes far from the city centre. The School is near to museums, art galleries and famous sculpture studios where the most famous international sculptors still work. It is placed in some ancient buildings in the historic Parco della Padula within Villa Fabbricotti: The stables and the former stalls of the Villa, actually implemented with modern facilities and equipment. The Parco della Padula – a particularly precious natural habitat, rich in rare and centuries-old flora - hosts large marble sculptures of famous contemporary artists and some historic and modern buildings, including a museum dedicated to Michelangelo and a play area for children.
Students of the Summer School enjoy a pleasant and well-equipped place in a beautiful environment, which is particularly appreciated in during spring and summer, because marble processing can also be carried out outdoors in a stimulating and relaxing way. Courses take place from July to mid-September under the supervision of Sculpture and Techniques of Marble Processing teachers of the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara supported by assistants in their classrooms. The atmosphere is that of a true Renaissance sculpture workshop, with the possibility of drawing a living model for the design of the figure from the reality.
The purpose of the School is to promote creativity and individual artistic development, thanks to the introduction of innovative and original approaches to sculpture. The School is therefore characterized by high productivity and an interesting comparison on emerging issues of our times; Classes offer moments of reasoning and learning in a work environment where major national and international artists address current issues using both traditional and experimental techniques. Courses have a different level of improvement based on the learning needs of the individual, from preparatory teaching of basic techniques to advanced specialization.
The School provides students basic instrumentation and the marble needed to realize casts, as well as a series of air-powered tools and electricity. However, students must buy personal safety shoes, eyeglasses, gloves, headphones and masks on their own: Carrara is rich in specialized stores for the purchase of these items.