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Travertino

What kind of marble is Travertine?

Travertine is not classified as a type of marble, but rather as a limestone rock. Marble is a metamorphic rock, originating from the transformation of a pre-existing rock, whose structure and chemical composition changed over time due to the intervention of natural factors, such as high temperature and pressure, which gave it a smooth and compact crystal structure. While Travertine is a sedimentary rock, formed by calcium carbonate deposits in water environments, such as lakes or mineral springs, and its structure is more porous and less compact than marble’s.

Known for its beauty and durability, Travertino is extracted in many areas throughout Italy, in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Lazio in particular.

The city of Tivoli, near Rome, is one of the most popular extraction sites for Travertino Classico, which was broadly used in Roman times for monumental constructions.

What is Travertino employed for?

The broad range of nuances available makes it ideal for both modern and classic environments. While it remains perfect for floors, as it resists frequent foot traffic, its use is versatile and extends to all indoor and outdoor applications. For instance, thanks to its water-repellent characteristics, Travertino is perfect for bathroom sinks and showers, and even for swimming pools.

In the kitchen, it can be used to create tops and chimney coverings, as it is very resistant to heat and to signs of wear.

As for flooring, it is ideal for staircases, especially if combined with other stones, to create unique and sophisticated combinations.

From honed and polished finishes, perfect for classy high-end interiors, to more natural finishes, more suitable outdoors or for rustic-chic environments, Travertino offers a wide range of aesthetic options.

What colour is Travertino?

There are several variants of Travertino, based on its colour, porousness and physical features.

Travertine Classico is a light and even beige colour, while Travertino Alabastrino features a white background with light and wavy veining. Other variants include Noce Travertine, with its dark nuances and compact texture, and White Travertine, with its ivory beige colour that makes it perfect for floors. Different colour variations are determined by the oxide content incorporated in its structure during the sedimentation process.

Its specific shades can include lighter or darker veining, which give this material visual richness and variety. Those colour features make it perfect for several architectural and style contexts, allowing architects and designers to employ it in different environments to add a touch of naturalness and elegance.

A wide range of finishing

The aesthetic value of Travertino can be enhanced through specific processes, such as:


Polished


Polishing Travertine is the process that best enhances the colour characteristics of this natural stone. Through a meticulous finish, Travertino's unique veining and colour variants shine, enhancing any environment it is placed in.

Honed


Travertine slabs that undergo a honing process acquire a smooth and uniform surface, perfect for a variety of architectural contexts. Differently from polished slabs, this technique employs abrasive brushes that make the surface less shiny, but equally sophisticated and elegant.

Rough


Travertine's charm is already evident in its rough form, marking the beginning of an extraordinary transformation process. When the stone block first reveals its essence and its natural beauty, it prepares itself for the subsequent processing stages that will enhance its beauty to the fullest.

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History of Travertine

In ancient times, the Romans called Travertino ‘lapis tiburtinis’, and adopted it as one of the basic materials in urban construction, thus marking the transition from buildings made mostly of wood to complex stone, marble and tuff architectures. This extended use made it a cornerstone of Roman architecture, so much that it was nicknamed “Travertino Romano“.
Some of the most emblematic structures built with this material include the Colosseum.

This stone has crossed the entire history of Italian architecture, and it has been broadly employed in the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
Remarkable examples include Bernini’s Piazza San Pietro, with its white veined Travertine columns, and Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio, where Travertino is alternated with yellow terracotta elements; it was also used to build the Trevi Fountain, and even in more recent constructions, such as the Olimpico Stadium.

Apart from those illustrious examples, Travertino is used also in more urban contexts such as the sidewalks in Rome historic centre, which are made of large Travertine slabs.
Also, Travertino is not limited to single architectural elements: it was employed to build entire towns, such as Ascoli Piceno historical centre, made almost entirely out of white Travertino during the Renaissance. Its broad use, the variety of shapes and sizes, the extraction areas, and – most of all – its versatility – have made it a predominant material, not just in Western architecture, but also in the Middle East.

Today, Travertino continues to be employed in many architectural contexts, by offering a wide range of variants and finishes, adapting to different aesthetics. Moreover, its physical properties make it easy to maintain and long-lasting.