Iconic Examples of Travertine
Travertine is a natural rock created deep in the earth by the action of hot springs on limestone. Travertine is native to the Tivoli region near Rome in Italy, and has been quarried there and prized as a building material since ancient times. It is rustic and durable, and its appearance improves with age. It is abundant, lighter than granite or marble, easy to quarry, and was used very frequently by the ancient Romans.
Some of the world’s most famous architectural structures are comprised of travertine:
- Colonnade of St Peter’s Square, Rome – the colonnades and the radiating lines of paving in St Peter’s Square are of travertine, relieving the cobblestone paving.
- St Peter’s Basilica – This late Renaissance church located in the Vatican City was consecrated in 1626. It is the second largest church in the world. Its facing is crafted from travertine.
- Roman Coliseum – built from AD 69 by the emperor Vespasian, the Coliseum was built on the site previously occupied by Nero’s Golden Palace. While much of ancient Rome is built on even more ancient buildings, the square outside the Coliseum remains at the level it did when it was built. The building is crafted from travertine, and it originally was paved all around in travertine slabs.
- Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Paris – this famous French landmark is situated at Paris’ highest point. It was constructed between 1875 and 1914 of travertine which was quarried in the Chateau-Landon in France. The largest mosaic in the world is located here
- Shell-Haus, Berlin – this is a modern classical architectural masterpiece dating from 1932 and featuring a wavelike facade crafted from Tivoli travertine.
- Getty Centre, Los Angeles – the Getty Centre incorporates the Getty Museum and other buildings high in Brentwood, overlooking Los Angeles. The buildings are created in concrete and steel with cladding in either travertine or aluminum. It is estimated that almost a million and a quarter square feet of travertine was used to create the buildings.
- Burghausen Castle, Bavaria – this is the longest castle complex in all of Europe, dating back to before 1025. The gothic complex comprises a main castle with inner and outer courtyards and various halls and buildings. With few exceptions, the castle walls are made of travertine.
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