Italian Marble: Carrara vs. Calacatta Marble

Posted on Feb 4, 2022
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Calacatta Gold Marble Bathroom Tile Flooring from Arizona Tile
Featured Image: Calacatta Gold Marble Bathroom Tile Flooring from Arizona Tile

From floors to countertops and many surfaces in between, marble brings timeless beauty and elegance to homes around the world. If you’re planning to use this stunning natural stone in your next remodeling project, you may be looking at two of the most popular types of marble: Carrara and Calacatta. And like many people, you’re probably wondering, what’s the difference between these seemingly similar varieties? Let’s find out.

Calacatta vs Carrara: What’s the Best Marble?

First of all, both Calacatta and Carrara marbles are very fine, elegant stones. You can’t go wrong with either of these materials in your home, whether you’re upgrading your kitchen countertops or your entire bathroom. Since they are both marble, they share the same level of durability and the same maintenance requirements. So, where are the differences?

The main distinction between these two popular varieties of marble have to do with their origin and their appearance.

Bianco Carrara marble Kitchen Countertop with Farmhouse Sink from Arizona Tile
Image: Bianco Carrara marble Kitchen Countertop with Farmhouse Sink from Arizona Tile

Origin

In the Carrara region of Italy, marble is abundant. The hundreds of quarries in the mountainous region around Carrara have produced more marble than anywhere else on earth. Some marble is mined from gallery quarries that tunnel into the mountains, while some is quarried from open bedrock.

Determining the difference between Calacatta and Carrara marble can be confusing due in part to their origins—both types of marble are mined in a region near the city of Carrara, Italy. These two types of marble are simply sourced from different mountains in the Apuan Alps, creating subtle differences in color and veining.

Calacatta Gold Marble Bar Countertop from Arizona Tile
Image: Calacatta Gold Marble Bar Countertop from Arizona Tile

Appearance

Both Carrara and Calacatta marble are beautiful, timeless choices. They are usually white and grey in color, with minor variations that may be difficult to notice at first. The main differences between them are:

  • Color: Most Carrara and Calacatta marbles are white and grey—a classic, elegant pairing that complements most modern kitchens and bathrooms. However, many varieties of Calacatta marble have warmer undertones and creamier backgrounds, including tones like gold, taupe and warm grey. Calacatta Gold, for example, features a heavy pattern of golden veins for a warm and timeless look.
  • Veining: Usually, the natural veining pattern on Carrara marble is softer, subtler, and more delicate, like the d pattern seen in Carrara Extra. On the other hand, Calacatta marble is known for its bolder, more dramatic veins that are more prominent against the background of the stone.

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