From the standpoint of its geological and structural nature, Pietra Piasentina is a sedimentary limestone of secondary origin resulting from the re-cementing of carbonate deposits.
Pietra Piasentina belongs to the carbonate megablocks that make up the powerful sequence of the fl ysch of Grivň (Early Palaeocene – Lower Eocene), originated by gravitational processes in marginal platform and slope areas, initiated by tectonic movements.
In petrographic terms Pietra Piasentina is classifi ed as calcarenite.
Pietra Piasentina is the construction and facing stone par excellence in the architecture of Friuli, where archaeological fi ndings bear witness to the use of this stone as early as Roman times. In the 16th century the stone was also used for monumental works by Palladio.
Today Pietra Piasentina is a construction material widely appreciated for its colour tones and extraordinary physical and mechanical properties. According to a cherished belief,
Pietra Piasentina takes its name from its popularity with the people and builders of Udine who, a few centuries ago, described it – in the local dialect – to those in charge of transport to the city as a stone that “piase” (that “pleases”) or a “pleasant” stone.
PHYSICAL, MECHANICAL AND COLOUR PROPERTIES
This Eocene breccia, with its exceptional characteristics of compact stone, low water absorption coeffi cient, high stress load even after repeated freezethaw cycles, good bending and wear resistance and above all its colour fastness against weathering agents, is ideally suitable for interior and exterior applications.
Pietra Piasentina has a grey background streaked with white veins and areas with brownish tones.
The stone responds to different surface fi nishes with colour tones ranging from the light grey of the sawn surface to the dark grey of the polished fi nish, thus making the same material a suitable match for many applications.
In Italy there are no other really similar types of stone: Piasentina can be processed in small and large thicknesses and is versatile for all types of applications in building, in designer accessories and in works of art.
Pietra Piasentina is processed locally by the quarrying companies themselves.
Polished or hone-fi nished, f amed and/or brushed, Pietra Piasentina is normally used in interiors (fl ooring, stairs, sills and doorsteps, bathroom and kitchen tops, furniture, etc.).
Flamed, bush-hammered, honed or sawn are the preferred fi nishes for external applications (pavings, street furniture, kerbs, jambs, doorsteps, stairs, etc.).
The stone can also be supplied in the typical fi nishes of the stonecutting tradition, such as bushhammering, broaching, scoring, cropping, bas-relief decorations and framing: techniques applied thanks to skilled stonemasons who have handed down their experience for generations and who now learn their skills in an excellent vocational training centre in Cividale del Friuli.
The ductility and the intrinsic characteristics of the material, combined with entrepreneurial fl exibility and capacity, have enabled in time an ever-faster response to changing design requirements relating to the use of Pietra Piasentina and to promptly meet any type of request.
THE QUARRYING AREAS
Pietra Piasentina is quarried in a small area of the north-eastern piedmont slope in Friuli, in the area of the Julian Prealps including the municipalities of Faedis, San Leonardo, San Pietro al Natisone and Torreano, in the Province of Udine in Friuli Venezia Giulia, an area that in 2004 was recognized as the Pietra Piasentina stone working district.
There are about ten active opencast quarries, operated on the principle of full respect for the environment and proper landscape restoration, with a good reserve of homogeneous and uniform material.
In the quarry Pietra Piasentina appears as a mass of erratics of different sizes varyingly interconnected with clayey soil.