Marble, Travertine, Granite Maintenance Similarities and Differences in Rome

Sungloss Marble Restoration Company was thankful to have our part-time Estimator John Leonard reporting from Rome last month while on vacation. In this final report, he describes more of the natural stone he saw while in Italy. He writes:

I have been blown away by keen similarities between the marble, granite, travertine, and terrazzo I see in Chicagoland homes, banks, Federal Buildings, condominium lobbies, and hotels, with the marble in Rome. Not just the contemporary designs, but on the contrary, ancient Roman villas and Senate chambers, along with medieval cathedrals, to name a few. The designs throughout the ages still look as fresh as present-day, and it’s easy to see where our interior designers and architects get their inspiration. As well, I witnessed maladies plaguing some of the Roman marble structures that seemed all-too-familiar—natural stone issues I’ve seen disrupting Chicago developers and construction companies. Finally, my overarching impression of Rome was the unending creativity and mastery the builders of yore applied to natural stone elements and designs. It’s no wonder marble, granite, terrazzo, travertine, and natural stone as a whole continually proves its’ unbridled value and beauty.

I’ve assembled a few photos taken in and around Rome showing off the wonders—and a rare gaffe—marble purveyors and designers have created over the last 2000 years. Ultimately, I hope they convey the arresting beauty that has inspired the Western world’s architecture and design community for millenia.

Marble and granite description in the pantheon

Successfully pitched (angled) marble floor and rainwater drain necessary due to the open roof in the Pantheon. Bathroom Remodelers and Designers do the same thing today in marble showers.

Renaissance-era beautiful marble exterior of Santa Maria Novello in Florence, Italy

This detail of the Florence Cathedral floor shows Renaissance artisans' skillful use of different stone reflectivity, similar to work of modern natural stone designers and architects.

Dazzling natural stone designs of the floor in the Florence Cathedral.

I was told the ancient Romans used sand and straw to polish this granite bathtub. Achieving work like this bathtub without electricity is an impressive feat!

Masterful mosaic marble flooring lifted from a nobleman's home and deposited in the Vatican Museum.

In the EUR section of Rome, the facade of the Palazzo dei Congressi suffered severe marble spalling due to an old prophylactic non-breathable top coat sealer.

Detail of severe spalling caused by a flaky plastic topcoat marble sealer that caused more harm than good.

The travertine facade and form of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, built by Mussolini, uncannily mirrors its' ancient Roman counterparts.