Written by Patricia Skinner
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Of all the different types of marble--and there are a great many--travertine is probably the most valued and the most precious. It was traditionally used for the carvings and surfaces that adorn many of Italy's finest monuments. The Basilica of St. Peter is replete with travertine carvings and statues. Michelangelo used travertine extensively in much of his outstanding work. With time these monuments have taken on an almost luminous quality that even adds to their already considerable beauty.

All around Italy, travertine marble has been traditionally used to carve a great many items. The list includes fountains, archways, windows, statues, seats and any number of decorative objects. It is extremely durable, and Rome is famous for its examples of travertine sculptures that have lasted for centuries, despite wars and the environment.

Why Travertine is So Highly Prized

Travertine is highly prized for its pale, almost luminous white color and its fine texture. Different types of travertine can have different colored veins that are very attractive, but the most common color for the veins is grey or black. Because it is so fine it can be more highly polished than other types of marble and that's why it is used extensively for interior decorating purposes. Although Italian travertine has the biggest reputation, there are several other different types that come from other places; Turkey and India for example.

This pristine white marble is very popular for floors and bathrooms in grand homes. However, it can be very costly indeed, and any kind of marble needs careful looking after. It is notoriously porous so if anything is spilt on it, immediate cleaning is essential to avoid staining. Marble tends to crack too, if it is exposed to any kind of trauma. Once staining has occurred the only thing to do is to remove the surface to the depth of the stain, or try bleaching it.

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