In Rome, a very interesting piece of architecture is located near Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, in the district once designated to host the 1942 World’s Fair, which was never celebrated because of World War II. Known to tourists as the “Square Colosseum,” the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana is an imposing and austere building that pays homage to the arches of the Roman Colosseum, and its spectacular facade is completely made of travertine. From a distance, and when the sun shines on this modern palace, this building looks as if it was made with fine marble. However, once you get closer you can see the distinctive texture of travertine, a sedimentary type of limestone that’s worth learning about.
A Classic Construction Material
Roman builders named travertine after the Latin name of Tivoli, a mountainous city where this natural stone has been quarried for centuries. Travertine was extensively used to build aqueducts, temples, amphitheaters, baths, and other public structures. Compared to igneous and metamorphic rocks, travertine is softer and easier for masonry workers to shape into columns and arches. Architects in the Ottoman Empire also chose travertine to build mosques and public squares.
If you have countertops made of travertine (or granite or any other type of natural stone), here’s a quick video explaining how to clean them properly:
A Diversity of Colors, Patterns, & Textures
Travertine strongly resembles limestone, but it has a wider range of earthy tones starting with a very light beige that can almost be confused with marble. Other colors include yellow, tan, bronze, copper, gold, and mocha. The darker tiles and slabs often feature more prominent veining. If you want to get textured floors in your home, tumbled travertine is a popular option because it looks gorgeous and feels softer to the touch than marble. In the case of golden travertine tiles or slabs, many homeowners prefer the honed and polished finish.
Travertine Is Reasonably Priced
Thanks to an abundance of travertine quarries, the price of this natural stone has become competitively affordable in recent years. Compared to marble installations, the average price per square foot of travertine is sometimes more than 70 percent lower. Installing travertine floors and countertops tends to be more affordable than marble and granite. Plus, if you shop around, you may be able to find tiles and slabs that strongly resemble marble.
Travertine Requires Maintenance
Since travertine is softer and more porous than marble and even limestone, homeowners should make sure their tiles and slabs are always properly sealed, and they should never use common household cleaners when caring for this stone. Travertine, like other types of natural stone, is prone to etching when it’s exposed to acidic substances. To this effect, you should only clean travertine with a stone-safe travertine and granite cleaner such as Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®. Depending on daily use, you may need to seal travertine often. Travertine surfaces can be safely polished with Granite Gold Polish® thanks to its non-abrasive formula, though make sure to avoid polishing travertine flooring, as it can become dangerously slippery.
When cleaning travertine floors, you should use a specially formulated travertine and granite stone & tile floor cleaner. Granite Gold Stone & Tile Floor Cleaner®, like all products we offer at Granite Gold®, is safe to use on travertine, granite, marble, and all other types of natural stone. To learn more about the high-quality products we offer, give one of the Stone Care Experts a call today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866).
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Lenny Sciarrino (aka Lenny S) and Lenny Pellegrino (aka Lenny P) grew up in the family business and are co-founders of Granite Gold®.