The real revolution of the marble extraction techniques took place at the end of the 19th century with the invention of the helical wire and the penetrating pulley. The technique is based on a 4 to 6 millimeters diameter steel wire combined with the abrasive action of silica sand and an abundant amount of water as a lubricant.
The helical wire is a continuous loop of tensioned steel that moves at a speed of 5 to 6 meters per second and cut the marble at a rate of 20 centimeters per hour. The use of this new technique almost completely substituted the use of explosives and determined a visible change in the landscape. The mountain begun to be literally cut with precision, creating surreal landscapes made of huge flights of steps and platforms, called "piazzali di cava".