The excavation and extraction of marble blocks “Breccia Paradiso” began in Esperia (Frosinone) in 1966 with Mr Mario Ferrara. In the early sixties he worked in Switzerland as a foreman in the construction of roads and infrastructure. On several occasions he observed that in the open galleries were granite blocks of a certain volume, the blocks were transported to sawmills and reduced to slabs.
Upon his return to Esperia for his vacations, Mr Ferrara’s attention was brought to the quarries that had been opened a few years earlier in Coreno Ausonio. He visited the quarries and as a result was inspired to attempt to mine his own land. It was with much hard work and dedication that the first block was removed, taken to a sawmill in nearby Cassino and the first slabs cut. Given the positive results of these first cuts, Mr Ferrara felt it was feasible to leave his position in Switzerland and open his own quarry. His was similar to many other small businesses at the time: they provided a valuable material to the industry, though due to economic constraints the blocks were sold shapeless, by weight, due to the difficulty of squaring with the few tools available.
It was not until a quarry in Carrara demonstrated to Mr Ferrara the usefulness and convenience of using helical wire for cutting both into the mountain and for the squaring of the blocks that the real automation of the quarry began. He employed a worker from a Carrara quarry, bought the wire system, had his quarry connected to water and electricity and brought in sand from Viareggio (at great expense). He proceeded to learn and apply the trade as best he could. His constant contact with Carrara and Veronese quarries aided him with not only the selling of the blocks, but it also allowed him to become more familiar with machinery and techniques used in the industry.
Deal after deal, Mr. Ferrara expanded his quarry and equipped it with the best machines available – even receiving subsidies granted by the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno. In later years he abandoned the use of detonating cord that could potentially damage the blocks while the helical wire was replaced by the more modern diamond wire. A special 40 TON crane – derrick – was commissioned. (In testing was loaded with up to 60 TON). The cranes arm was able to move the large blocks up to 40 m to service the entire quarry. Soon new machines were purchased: a new mechanical shovel, a powerful excavator and a dump truck. For the tens of workers who worked in the quarry it was first-class cutting edge equipment, which allowed them to work safely and efficiently, minimising wasted effort.
Today the quarry activity has been passed down from son to son. The use of machinery for excavation and cutting remain the same, along with the aid of some new equipment acquired later such as the new CNC diamond wire which allows increased speed of extraction with higher levels of safety.