The stone of the Colosseum, Roman Travertine

November 23, 2021

The most famous and long-lived monuments of Rome, the Eternal City, were made out of Roman Travertine. It is no mystery that the largest Roman amphitheater ever built, the Colosseum, was made entirely of this natural stone, extracted in Tivoli and transported to the center of Rome across the Aniene and Tiber rivers. Certainly, the Romans used Roman Travertine for its proximity to the city, but above all for its natural qualities of resistance to loads and atmospheric agents.

Interesting facts about the Colosseum?

• It is the largest amphitheater in the world. It could hold up to 87,000 people.

• More than one hundred thousand cubic meters of Roman Travertine were used for the external wall alone. To transport these blocks today, with current means, more than ten thousand trucks would be needed.

• It could be filled with water to accommodate simulations of “naval battles”.

• In addition to being the undisputed symbol of Rome and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Colosseum was included in 2007 among the new 7 wonders of the modern world.

Where did Roman Travertine, the stone used for the Colosseum, come from? From the famous Cava del Barco (Barco Quarry) which is also one of the first sites for the extraction and processing of Roman Travertine, within the Poggi Bros.
In the Barco region, in Tivoli, there is a specific area that was used in Roman times and which still bears the signs of that ancient excavation activity. Many customers ask Poggi Bros to have the Roman Travertine from this area because it represents the same stone used for the Colosseum.

The Cava del Barco was used extensively during the Roman period. There were many workers involved in the excavations, so much so that inside the Barco quarry there is also a mausoleum, built by the marble quarrymen themselves, dating back to the 1st century AD. to celebrate their protective deity, Hercules Saxanus (the Hercules of those who worked the blocks).

But let’s go back to the Colosseum, the most famous of the Roman monuments, the very symbol of the Eternal City. Its original name is Amphiteatrum Flavium (Flavian Amphitheater), in honor of the dynasty that wanted it to be built, commissioned by Emperor Vespasian and inaugurated by Titus. Entirely covered in Roman Travertine originating from the Barco di Tivoli quarry.

This is what Goethe found out when he was in Rome in 1787:
“Enchanting is above all the view of the Colosseum, which is closed at night; inside, in a small chapel, a hermit lives and beggars take shelter under the ruined vaults. They had lit the fire on the ground at the bottom, and a breeze blew the smoke over the whole arena, covering the lower part of the ruins, while the gigantic walls towered gloomy above; we, standing in front of the grating, contemplated that prodigy, and in the sky the moon shone high and serene. Gradually the smoke spread through the walls, the rooms, the openings, and in the moonlight it looked like fog. It was a show without the equal. “

Today the marble extracted from the Barco quarry is used all over the world to furnish high-end projects. The timeless charm of surrounding oneself with the same marble used for the most incredible monuments of humanity, of the same shades and appearance, is a privilege still made possible today thanks to the commitment of our company.

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