The great amount of sandstone present in the area is at the origin of this ancient tradition. “Sandstone cutters” are especially widespread in the mountain areas of Upper Mugello: in the territory of Firenzuola, Palazzuolo and Marradi.
There are numerous towns or small abandoned locations in the mountains that are built completely in sandstone, from the cobble stone roads to the tiles on the roofs of the homes, for example: Scheggianico, Tirli, Castiglioncello, Rapezzo, San Pellegrino, Piancaldoli, Coniale, Caburraccia and Cerreta. In these towns we can admire a variety of exquisitely made objects and particulars in sandstone: elegant volutes (spirals), which sometimes decorate the last step of an external staircase; splendid bas-relief coats of arms and friezes that decorate portals and the lintels above the entrance to the houses; the originality of the sundials; the perforations in the sandstone to allow ventilation in the attic; and the chimney tops.
Today in Firenzuola and the surrounding towns, there are numerous workshops that make striking decorations for exteriors like cobblestones for paving roads and sidewalks, fountains and borders for flowerbeds. The interiors are equally important and sandstone can decorate floors, doorframes, window frames and sills, stairs, fireplaces, capitals (borders) and columns.
Unfortunately there are very few cutters who still work the stone by hand. They are: