LOCATION: Carrara. Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 15
GROSS SURFACE AREA: 2,761 sqm / 29,680 sq ft
FLOORS: 1 basement, 2 above ground level
YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION: 1932-1934
ARCHITECT: Giuseppe Boni
YEAR OF PURCHASE: 2013
DESIGNATED USE: offices
CONSTRAINT: the building is subject to the constraints pursuant to the law 1089/39
A Thirties building entirely coated in marble.
The year 1932 saw the proposal for the construction of the Palazzo Postale of Carrara: the general public and the Municipality did their utmost to ensure that the said building became a respectable structure worthy of the city and of the local marbles. It was requested that all the building be coated in the best local marbles, declaring that “it wouldn’t have been opportune to renounce to such highly decorative materials just to cut down on costs”. This is how the creation of the Palazzo Postale came to be, which can be defined as an anthem to Carrara marble; never again would a building be constructed with such marvelous marble, excellently elaborated by the local masters. The project had been entrusted to Giuseppe Boni, an architect from Carrara, a member of various entities amongst which, the “Commissione Centrale dell’Ordine degli Ingegneri e Architetti” (Central Commission of the Order of Engineers and Architects), who aptly interpreted the expectations both of the public, as well as of the local authorities. The area selected for construction, donated by the Municipality, was located close to the Ferrovia Marmifera, situated in a degraded area due to the presence of “poor cabins used for working marble”; hence the construction of the building constituted for the local authorities an occasion for improving the conditions of the area, as well as an opportunity to provide a new infrastructure intended to enhance viability through the creation of via Don Minzoni, which from via Roma runs along the city centre. The architectural decision made by Boni, was mostly based on the urban value of the corner, the prime element leading to the creation of the building, but also on the idea of providing a “living room” for the public. The staircase leading to the entrance, positioned at the intersection of three roads, was the starting point for the development of the project. From the said staircase one enters into the great hall, which was designed as a sort of small secular temple. The building has an octagonal shape with different heights. A small balcony lies above with three ample windows which completely illuminate the hall. The segmented roof-top culminates into an octagonal awning with white and light blue glass panes. Along the two sides of the central structure there are two opposing wings designated as office space and located on two floors interconnected by stairs. This layout is easily visible from the outside: the hall space rises above the two lateral buildings with an octagonal tower which extends up to three floors. On the ground floor the entrance extends to the magnificent hall emphasizing all the more the importance of the corner location of the building. The true protagonists of this building are the wall coatings. They are all covered in Carrara marble: alternating between ordinary white, white veined marble and dark veined Bardiglio marble, successfully creating a chromatic effect.
The external walls are entirely coated in slabs of Carrara white marble, with borders in dark Bardiglio marble. Inside the hall, even the square borders over the openings are in dark Bardiglio marble, whilst the walls are made of light-coloured veined marble slabs, disposed in such a way as to create original designs. Even the balcony and the ceiling are coated in marble, where due to reasons of static quality, after the first row of marble slabs, all the others to follow were painted with such precision that it would be impossible to distinguish them except upon a more accurate analysis. Even the central staircase is completely covered in marble: the balustrade is made of small columns refined in particularly beautiful light-coloured, veined marble; the walls and the space under the stairs are in light-coloured veined Bardiglio marble, whilst the ceiling at times presents a paneling in dark Bardiglio marble with panels painted in such a way as to produce a marble-like effect. The space is illuminated from above thanks to white and light blue window panes. The floors of the offices are all painted in alternating light and dark marble-like squares of different measures depending on the dimensions of the rooms. The floor of the hall captures the design of the segmented roof-top, with dark squares converging towards the centre. The works of art sculpted by Sergio Vatteroni, an artist from Carrara who was personally chosen by the architect Boni, contribute to the beauty of this building. The two big round statues, realized in the highest quality marble and more than three metres high, are located at the entrance of the building and symbolize the allegory of Work. On the lateral façades between the windows of the ground floor and the first floor, six big white marbled panels are located in half relief, representing the coat of arms of Carrara and the allegories of Communication. On the eaves-cornice of the octagonal tower, sixteen original gargoyles, realized in dark Bardiglio marble, act as dripstones. Inside, on the landing of the staircase, it is possible to admire a lunette in Venetian mosaic with a gold background with marble cubes, representing fasces (representative of the Roman Lictors).
(taken from “Palazzi Storici delle Poste Italiane”, Franco Maria Ricci Editore, Milan 1996)