Our History

The “Cava di Montemerano,” as it is commonly called, is located in between the Terme of Saturnia and the ancient Tuscan village of Montemerano, a hamlet of Manciano.

Journey with us through the beautiful hills Montemerano to hear the story of the quarry, and the role it has played in supporting a thriving community in one of the most magical places in the world.

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50s

The ‘Poggio Crostoli’ quarry (or ‘cava’ in Italian) opened in 1956 when technicians from the Ente Maremma discovered large travertine deposits between the medieval villages of Montemerano and Saturnia in the south of Tuscany, in proximity of the world famous Saturnia hot springs. The allure of both the large deposits of the valuable material and the picturesque beauty of the area led a triumvirate of entrepreneurs to establish a quarrying operation there. The founders had the foresight to build a fully equipped factory to work the stone, which to this day sets the Poggio Crostoli Quarry apart from most quarries, as it completes a full, and varied, product-making cycle onsite.

Initially named Montemerano srl, the quarry has continuously been known as the ‘cava di Montemerano’ since its inception. Fuelled by the popularity of its material, the quarry soon grew to employ more than a hundred people in one of Italy’s most sparsely inhabited areas, making it the biggest player in the local economy and in the lives of the many families who saw generation after generation employed here.

60s

In a period of economic boom in Italy, the quarry expanded to satisfy the growing demand for its product. During this decade it reached its peak of employment, edging close to 150 workers and cementing its place in local history. The management invested heavily in the quarry and its factory, making it a model operation for its time. With this investment, it was able to expand production and reach beyond Italy’s national borders. The quality and beauty of the travertine, together with the quarry’s expanded capacity, led to a boom in sales in the French Riviera, along the whole Tyhrreanan Coast, Germany and even far overseas.

70s

The 1970s saw the quarry change hands; transferring to state-run companies. AMMI and later IMEG (then the world's biggest company of Carrara Marble) took control of the quarry. This acquisition meant that the quarry came under the umbrella of much larger organizations, which had the means to drive an international expansion of sales and create synergies with the other quarrying operations these state-run companies held throughout Tuscany. During this period, the headquarters moved to Viareggio, in northern Tuscany where IMEG was based.

Due to the clout of these new owners, the quarry became internationally renowned and its travertine reached an even larger audience, captivating and convincing such notable clients as the Sultan of Brunei and the President of Cameroon, who used the stone in that country’s presidential palace.

80s

The 1980s brought with it another period of boom for the Italian economy and the quarry's management enjoyed a steady period of growth, tapping into new luxury markets in South America and Africa, as well as consolidating its position in the European market. At this time, Italian stone was unchallenged in its position of dominance over the natural stone market. However, a series of management missteps combined with changing markets forced the quarry to scale back operations and reduce its workforce.

90s

The impact of these job losses was felt heavily by the local community; especially in the 1990s when the fate of the quarry was thrown into jeopardy notwithstanding the valuable and acclaimed stone it was able to produce. Ironically, during this time some of the quarries most prestigious projects were commissioned, including the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta USA, the Pasadena Tower in the USA, the Palace of the German Community in Leopoldstraße Munich, and the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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00s

The turn of the millennium coincided with a tumultuous time for the quarry, which saw it close for a period just after the year 2000. However, the closure was short lived as the undeniable quality of the product enticed a series of managements to attempt to get the quarry back to its rightful position as one of Italy’s leading travertine quarries. The high regard for the travertine from the ‘cava di Montemerano’ saw the quarry win further prestigious projects during this time, including buildings for both the University of Copenhagen and also the Bio Centre in Copenhagen. As wealth flowed in the global markets during the heady days of the early to mid-2000s, the material was highly sought after and appeared in many different private villa developments around the world.

The crash caused by the global financial crisis in 2008 rapidly dampened these initiatives, as the management team that led the quarry could not adapt quickly enough to withstand the blow. The company slashed its workforce to a skeleton crew, sold off machinery and greatly reduced output, casting a long shadow over the quarry’s future.

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However, a chance encounter in Berlin meant that the material caught the eye of two brothers from Barbados, who were looking for something just like it in a project they were considering. The brothers travelled to Italy to see the quarry and the rest, as they say, is history. The property was bought in September 2016 by Saturnia Travertini Italia srl, representing the first foreign ownership in its history. Led by an entirely new international partnership which drew from decades of experience in engineering, construction, investment banking and global finance, the company is committed to applying modern management principals to the age-old art of stone extraction.

With innovative means and a major investment drive, Saturnia Travertini Italia is resurrecting the Cava di Montemerano. Thanks to its financial stability and the depth of management abilities, Saturnia Travertini Italia is not only returning the quarry to its past splendour but also taking care to reduce its environmental impact. Aware of the quarry’s historical role as a pillar of the local community, the company is proud to have started hiring back local people. It has also been working in close collaboration with local authorities and organisations to engrain the company further into the fabric of the community by promoting Italian stone, and providing a positive outlook to its employees and their families after years of hardship.

The beauty and quality of the travertine combined with new technology, an experienced and modern management team and the support and trust of its community of employees, is positioning Saturnia Travertini Italia to return to its rightful place as a trusted and respected supplier of this timeless and luxurious product. The cava di Montemerano is undergoing a true renaissance and Saturnia travertine Italia is proud to be writing the next chapter of its history.

Come, join our project and see it for yourself.