By: Cathy Garrido
I had the pleasure of visiting Verona, Italy this past September to attend the Marmomaac “Designing with Natural Stone” Program. I was awarded a scholarship through the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, in partnership with the Italian Trade Commission. It was a fabulous trip, packed full of events, lectures, the Veronafiere Marmo+mac Trade Show, as well as some amazing tours of quarries, processing facilities, warehouses, showrooms and, of course, dinners. What more could an architect want?
Our week started in Verona – we were introduced to our group at the hotel and many of us went for a walking tour of Verona for the afternoon, before our official welcome dinner. Of course we included a visit to Carlo Scarpa’s Castelvecchio – which was wonderful to see almost 25 years after I’d last been there.
Our group was hosted and guided by Vince Marazita (pictured) and Peter Harrison, stone consultants and experts who made the experience truly wonderful on every level. Our first day was an introduction to Botticino, a lesson in geology and a quarry visit. We learned how they cut the massive blocks of stone from the mountain and move them to their warehouses for processing.
We learned all about different types of stone and how it is used in different applications. These blocks are typically cut into slabs and sold for use for interior and exterior surfaces such as exterior cladding, wall surfaces, flooring, counters, patio stones and some blocks are sold and used by artists to create sculptures for public places.
The Marmo+Mac Stone conference and trade show is huge, spread over 9 buildings plus an extensive outdoor area. There were entire buildings dedicated to stone processing machinery (which was fascinating) and several showcasing the finished product. We attended seminars and had meetings with suppliers interested in connecting with us to supply stone to our projects in Canada. We were broken into smaller groups for these meetings.
We had many lovely dinners .. this one was hosted at the Locanda Del Borgo Winery in Soave. Near the end of the trip we travelled to the town of Sirmione where we managed to get this final group photo in front of the historic castle Rocca Scaligera.