Cavea Arcari


Useful Information

Location: 36020 Zovencedo VI.
From Viale Sant' Agostino south, turn left on SP12, then right towards Zovencedo. The road to the site is a single lane gravel road which is not signposted. From Zovencedo follow SP108 north, at stop sign turn left, after 700 m turn left on gravel road, 1 km.
(45.4446120, 11.5062997)
Open: no restrictions.
[2024]
Fee: free.
[2024]
Classification: SubterraneaRock Mine MineRoom and Pillar Mining
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:
Address: Cavea Arcari, 36020 Zovencedo VI, Tel: +39-0.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1950s quarry abandoned.
2010 Morseletto family plans the creation of a cultural space.
01-MAY-2018 Cultural center opened.

Description

Cavea Arcari (Arcari Cellar) is a former quarry, where the precious Pietra Bianca di Vicenza (White Rock of Vicenza) was quarried. The village Zovencedo is located in the hills south of the city of Vicenza. The stones were needed to build, among other buildings, the famous villas of Andrea Palladio. As common in underground quarries, the Room and Pillar method was used to quarry the rock, the result was a huge chamber with countless pillars supporting the roof. In this case the rock was quite stable, after all it was used for building houses, so the pillars with a size of about 2 by 2 m stand about 6 to 8 m apart. If the pillars are bigger and the distance smaller, such a quarry is more like passages crossing each other. But this one is more like a huge chamber, a cathedral built of the famous white Vicenza stone.

The quarries were abandoned, dripping water filled it with a calm lake. It was sporadically used by Laboratorio Morselleto as a venue for certain events. The reason is simple, the Morseletto family, which owns the enterprise, also owns the quarry. Despite the name, Laboratorio Morselleto operates ten quarries in the area and produces the still sought stone. In 2010, they had the idea to actually transform the site into a cultural center, with electric light, floors, infrastructure like toilets and so forth. They commissioned David Chipperfield Architects. The site was inaugurated in 2018 during the opening days of the Venice Architecture Biennale. The site is rather spectacular and was widely published in architecture magazines.

The remodelling was completed in 2018, the result is used for concerts, art exhibitions and more. A series of steps and platforms at different levels were made of the same material as the quarry. The tiers are used for theatrical performances and other artistic activities. It can accommodate approximately 300 people, but it actually uses only a section close to one of the entrances. There are no walls, the floor ends, the quarry goes on. The lake still exists and fills much of the unused quarry. The entrances face to the south, in the late afternoon and evening, when the sun is low, it actually shines into the quarries.

The site is private property, but still it is a cultural center. They do not publish open hours, but obviously they are open for events and exhibitions. We actually have no first-hand information, the site has not yet been visited by a reviewer. If you are in the area, you could probably just go there and check if it is gated. And drop us a line, please.