Slate from Valle Argentina
Geologically it consists of a particular mineralogical and chemical composition that developed on marl rock by the process of metamorphism. The slate lode emerges starting at the village of Molini di Triora and is wedged into the valleculae depressions upstream, where it is extracted by a particular kind of ’subterranean’ quarrying, now in sharp decline due to market choices (which are made at an international level given the uniqueness of the product). The slate excavated in Valle Argentina is primarily used to produce the playing surfaces for billiard tables. The slate was obviously used a great deal in the past as can be seen from the rooftops on many of the old and even historical buildings in the Imperia hinterland. They used to be made entirely of this material (or of less pure forms of stratified clay-marl rock also very common in the area). Recently an initiative in the Triora - Molini di Triora area has been promoting artistic or artisan products made out of this slate known as ’back gold’.