The mandarin is one of the three original citrus fruits in the genus Citrus with the citron and the pomelo. In 2014, a scientific paper clarified the complex systematics of citrus fruits by defining how all citrus fruits derive from these three species. It was introduced to Europe in the first half of the 19th century as an ornamental plant, specifically it landed in Malta as a botanical curiosity, and later in Sicily where it acclimatised very well (variety Havana). Among citrus fruits, the mandarin is the only sweet fruit. Its segments are small and juicy, with light orange flesh. The skin is thin, light orange and very fragrant. The term 'mandarin' comes from the colour of the golden orange dress of the imperial dignitaries of ancient China. It was the Portuguese who later coined the word mandarim by vulgarising the Sanskrit word mantrim, meaning minister.
At the foot of the Apuan Alps, Carrara is unique in the world for its marble quarries. The “white gold of the Apuan Alps”: this is how the marble of Carrara is defined, a precious stone with which important works have been realised and that has made this town, for centuries devoted to its extraction and processing, great. One of the first people to venture into marble quarrying were the Romans who, by inserting beams of fig wood inside natural fissures in the rock, filled these with water until they were completely impregnated and caused the rock to split. This extraction technique remained unchanged, if not with minor variations, until the Renaissance when Michelangelo began to frequent the Carrara area to directly choose the raw material for his works: it was from Carrara, transported along the Arno, that the block from which the Maestro sculpted the famous David came. Marble thus became an important raw material for the construction, furnishing and decoration of public buildings and patrician residences. Even today, skilful artists and craftsmen still work this material with mastery, creating stupendous works of art and decorative objects that become true furnishing accessories.