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MORPHOLOGY OF THE ROMAN TRAVERTINE

Even the most ancient travertine is renowned for its exceptional quality.
The stripes and refined colours of this stone are very similar to eternal monuments of extremely intriguing charm.  Masterpieces such as the Coliseum, the Amphitheatre of Marcellus take us back to a past, which is actually very close to the present. To think that we are able to touch with our own hands the very marble from which such masterpieces have been built, and that ancient engravings in this marble are still visible to our eyes. The sobriety, solidity and toughness of this stone were first appreciated by the Greek geographer Strabone more than two thousand years ago. The construction of the Theatre of Marcellus dates back to the prosperous empire of Augustus and the imposing building of the Flavian Amphitheatre, known as the Coliseum, dates back to the times of the Flavian dynasty. The Coliseum was the emblem of the empire and was outfitted for the most different games. In the Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti and Bramante used travertine for the construction of religious, civil, public and private buildings. In the eighteenth century this stone became popular among architects who strove to blend with nature and not overwhelm it. The Spanish steps by Specchi and De Sanctis is a clear example of plasticity, motive energy, dynamism: characteristics that belong to the particular nature of this stone. The many natural veins and particular colours characterising this rock are due to its unique chemical genesis. Indeed, travertine is a sedimentary rock originating from the precipitation of calcium carbonate from waters rich in or supersaturated by calcium bicarbonate. The discovery of marine fossils within extracted material proves that during the Pliocene, tens of millions of years ago, the Tiburtine and Comicolani Mountains were submerged by marine waters. At the beginning of the Quaternary, approximately a million of years ago, the continental area rose and the sea started to recede. In the basin of the albule waters, which looked like a basin shaped depression, thermo-mineral hot waters surfaced. These waters mixed with sulphurous gases from volcanic activity at the Alban Hills, due to the consolidation of magma of the old volcano in Latium. The upward push of the sulphurous gases caused the waters to rise and the calcium bicarbonate melted in the calcareous masses crossed by them. Upon surfacing, water would flow towards the lowest points of the basin and precipitation occurred due to the falling of temperatures and pressure and thus the sedimentation of calcium carbonate. Therefore, the Lapis tiburtinus presents itself in banks or layers delimited by a thin clay level, caused by flooding. Sedimentation, in fact, took place in different cycles and phases.

This rock is produced both by the pressure of the overhanging banks on the underlying ones and by the constant precipitations of calcium carbonate, favouring the sedimentations of the deepest layers due to its permeability. Travertine cannot only be considered as a mere mineral resource, but as the material that mostly contributed to the success of numerous sculptors and architects: among which Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples 1598 ¨C Rome 1680). He worked in Saint Peter for more than forty years. During the construction of the colonnade of the Basilica, he was able to ascertain the extraordinary value of the entire extractive basin, which is today the location of our extractive structure. To better apply the underpinning value of the material, Bernini resorted to the travertine extracted from some tiburtine quarries, opened by him. To verify with better certainty the effective quality of the stone, a farmhouse was erected, where he lodged together with all his assistants and collaborators. The baroque Rome of the seventeenth century has certainly found in this figure the most preeminent representative of a period characterized by a taste for beauty. The peculiar characteristics of the lapis tiburtina are of rare beauty and constitute an architectural material of valuable visual effectiveness. The typical vacuolar structure is particularly suitable for different sculptures, especially of big dimensions. In its bare simplicity, it can be admired in numerous works in the Eternal city, erected outside the ancient city walls since the eighteenth century. The admirable wisdom with which history and art blend together in the numerous architectural projects underlines how travertine easily suits to the most different of styles and requirements (see for example the Eur district).

For more than two thousand years, travertine has embellished the urban environments of numerous places in the world.
Some projects where we have used Roman Travertine:
- Ministry of Education in Kuwait;
- Ministry for Home Affairs, Petroleum and Finance of Riyadh;
- French Embassy in Bahrain;
- Stadio Flaminio in Rome;
- Airport of Seville in Spain;
- Les Galleries de la Capitale in Montréal in Canada;
- Standard Federal Saving & Loan Bank of Atlanta;
- Ponce de Leon golf of Miami;(
- Roma Termini railway station;
- Jamboree Center - Rosamead in California, USA;
- Mosque of Deribe in Nigeria;
- Airport and Ministry for Public Works in Riyadh;

- Taibah Commercial & Residential Center in Medina, Saudi Arabia;

- Football Stadium of the Principality of Monaco;
- English Embassy in Rome.



In view of the rapid laying time and lack of maintenance requirements, Roman Travertine truly is an exceptional product. This marble reflects light to generate a sense of lightness and of austere majesty at the same time. The colours produced by coverings offer dynamism and suggestive light contrasts. Each project requires a specific type of travertine; our special polishing and cleaning machines further enhance the marble's shades and colours.
It owes its vacuolar structure to the presence of decomposing vegetables trapped in the uninterrupted sedimentation of calcium carbonate. The unmistakable colouring, apparently heterogeneous, is due to the external agents present during the sedimentation of calcium carbonate. Durability, compactness and elasticity are qualities that grant a significant resistance to atmospheric and chemical agents, impact and wear. Therefore travertine is an excellent quality construction material.