The Illustrious History and Uses of Travertine

Pool decks

Travertine: you’ve seen it on many an elegant kitchen or bathroom floor, but you didn’t know the first thing about it until now. Travertine is a limestone material, formed from hot spring deposits. It is formed by a rapid process of calcium carbonate precipitation at the mouth of hot springs and sometimes caves. The stone is commonly used in Italy, as a great deal of the material originates from hot springs outside of Tivoli, Italy.

The limestone material forms in a plethora of colors, such as gold, tan, brown, cream, and white.

Travertine has a lush architectural history. The use of the limestone deposit dates all the way back to the First Dynasty in Ancient Egypt in 3200 BC, and was used for masonry.

In the 3rd century BC, the Etruscans used it in order to build a wall around Perugia, as well as for tombs, churches, and the town aqueduct.

Many global architectural wonders that still exist today are constructed using travertine. For example, the Coliseum in Rome, was constructed entirely of travertine and was completed in 80 AD. You can also see a variety of travertine at the historical and breathtaking Basilique du Sacre Couer in Paris, which took 40 years to make and cost 40 million francs.

Today, travertine has a number of practical architectural and design usages. Travertine can be used as either an indoor or outdoor material. In outdoor settings, travertine is a popular and elegant choice for retaining walls, pool decks, and even brick patios. For indoor settings, it is a popular material for bathroom and tile floors, as well as facades.

While the stone is rarely used for construction in present times, there are a few exceptions. For example, the Getty Center is Los Angeles is constructed from 1.2 million square feet of travertine. In addition, the Sears tower’s lobby has travertine walls that are often described as exquisite. When the tower was first built in 1974, it was the world’s tallest building.

Now that you know the lush history and versatility of travertine, will you use it for your next patio design project? Tell us in the comments below!

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