Mining the stone from the quarries of Gonfolina and from the surrounding hills became an important economic resource during the pre-World War II period and continued to be one of the primary industries. The name of Lastra a Signa in fact originates from the presence of the stone quarries, active since the Middle Ages.
The kinds of stone mined from the quarries were pietra serena and pietra forte. The former is a grey stone, suitable for interior architectural details; and the latter a tobacco-coloured stone, stronger than the grey stone and therefore used for the exterior of buildings.
Throughout the 15th century, the employment of stone as construction material grew considerably to the point of becoming the fundamental element of Renaissance architecture. The quarries were rented to families of stone masons, who managed to buy them during the 18th and 19th century, after achieving economic prosperity.
In 1850, the modernization of infrastructures allowed the industries of Lastra to become a benchmark in Tuscany as well as abroad, as most of the stone was exported.
In the early 20th century, due to the introduction of new and less-expensive construction material, the stone industry of Lastra declined.
Local artists still carve the stone according to craft techniques handed down throughout the centuries:
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