Marbles from Sicily and Sardinia: Varieties and Uses

Since ancient times, among the Italian Mediterranean regions, Sardinia and Sicily have been famous for the richness of their lithic resources, all of the highest quality and also easy to extract. Even today, on a global scale, the granite deposits of the Italian islands are some of the richest stone masses objects of research and cultivation to create decor and building materials.

marbles of sicily

Sicilian marble is known for its use in public construction not only throughout Sicily but also in the rest of Italy: various testimonies can be identified in churches and on the floors of buildings such as patronal houses and villages.
Even today, its use in construction and architecture persists over time mainly due to the easy adaptability of these marbles to projects and their resistance to bad weather of different entities and types. Here are some of the most used and most valuable Sicilian marbles:

  • Perlato di Sicilia and Perlatino di Sicilia: varieties of marble with a light beige background, of a calcareous nature, with brown-colored fossils with a more or less rounded appearance and burgundy or orange veins. Perlato and Perlatino differ one from another because the Perlato has the largest pearl (fossils) while the pearl of the Perlatino is smaller; however, they have in common the brown grain and the brecciated appearance;
  • Crema di Roccia: beige limestone with a medium-large grain background, with clasts or fossils that give a slightly brecciated appearance;
  • White Mother of Pearl (semi-precious marble): calcareous material dating back to the middle Cretaceous period, of fine granulometry composition and well cemented by a pearly colored calcareous binder, with thin and discontinuous veins of iron nature (red and ochre) and clayey (red gold);
  • Avorio Rosé: variety with a beige background and brecciated appearance given by the presence of irregular green or pink veins;
  • Rosa Sicilia Antico: brecciated limestone with beige or light green clasts that mix in an antique pink matrix;
  • Rosso Sunset: stone material of medium-large grain of a brick red color, with variable chromatic intensity in a scale of the slabs or of the extracted block.

sardinian marbles

The Sardinian territory not only offers granites with various commercial denominations (Limbara, Rosa Antico, Rosa Beta, Rosa Nule, etc.), but it also presents deposits of basalts, trachytes and limestones known as Orosei marbles, the stone materials characteristic of this area of Italy. The variety of Orosei, also known as Breccia Sarda, Biancone, Perlato Olimpo, Tigrato d’Oriente, Daino Reale and Daino Imperiale, stands out for its ductility, for its brightness, and the particularity of the colors: basic beige-hazelnut-cream, its chromatic appearance is characteristic, scratched by darker veins and crystallization of shell fossils, corals and other small organisms. This limestone is extracted from the quarries of Mount Tuttavista in Orosei (eastern coast of Sardinia) and its formation dates back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (about 150 and 100 million years ago). Orosei marbles are used in various ways: internal and external flooring, internal and external cladding, stairs, window sills, thresholds, etc.

general considerations

Among the Sicilian marbles, the recently extracted White Mother Pearl marble is particularly noteworthy, classified as semi-precious, and used for luxury works in countries such as Israel and the United States. In general, the marbles of the Italian islands boast a robustness and longevity that goes beyond geological eras and challenges human understanding of the concept of eternity.

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