• Italian marble arrives for Cathedral Basilica renovations

    By: Cole Heath


    ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine and the artwork of Michelangelo will soon have deep ties.

    Tons of Italian marble landed in our area Friday and it’ll be used to create a work of art. It’s all part of the massive church renovation coming together in time for St. Augustine’s 450th birthday.

    The marble in the 30 boxes shipped in Friday may not look like much now, but it's being used to create something extravagant.

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    The church itself is a work of art, but it hasn’t been touched since the 1960s.

    Friday, sounds from scaffolding and hammers replaced the familiar sights and choir songs. A small crew of workers is carefully laying marble on their hands and knees.

    Think of them as the artists, the church their canvas. Eventually they will place 30 tons of marble, piece by piece, serving as the material for this masterpiece.

    Father Tom Willis was gracious enough to show Action News around the Cathedral Basilica.

    “To realize you’re part of the longer history of the world, of the church, is really going to be a blessing,” Willis said.

    The marble is from a quarry in Pietra Santé in Italy.

    Action News found out it’s from the same area Michelangelo where selected marble for his statue of David, among other masterpieces.

    “I was over there in November,” Willis said. “My skin truly began to get goosebumps.”

    The marble hammers are supposed to wrap up by Palm Sunday. Then the piece of Italian artwork will be ready for its big reveal.

    All of the crates should be emptied and the entire project should be completed by the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine.

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