Images and story coming soon.
Early morning, at a Mariotti travertine quarry in Bagni di Tivoli, Italy, about 19 kilometers northeast of Rome
Many of Rome’s classic buildings and plazas were constructed from blocks of travertine from Bagni di Tivoli quarries including the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, Roman aqueducts, the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Spanish Steps.
The large travertine deposits outside of Rome are over 270 feet thick and have been quarried for more than 2,000 years. The ancient Romans were the first to cut travertine from this quarry in Bagni di Tivoli. The stone, just below the trees and topsoil, was quarried with hand tools such as hammers, chisels and wedges. Note the jagged surface of the wall. The smooth travertine walls signal the development of wire saw with cables running through vertical and horizontal holes in the stone carrying water and an abrasive such as quartz dust (later diamond) in the mid eighteenth century.
A smooth travertine wall, cut with diamond imbedded cable, in a quarry in Bagni di Tivoli
A worker checks the diamond dust imbedded cable which runs through vertical and horizontal holes drilled in the stone, making the smooth rapid cuts and the economy of modern quarrying possible.
A large slab of travertine, cut with a diamond imbedded cable, is pushed from the wall with a hydraulic jack.
The slab is cut into blocks with jack hammers.
A travertine block is unloaded in the finishing factory yard.
The block is secured on a steel sled that runs on tracks similar to railroad tracks. The sled moves the block over a multi-bladed gang saw that slices it into slabs. Cold water is constantly streamed over the block to keep the blades from overheating.
A travertine block sawn into inch+ slabs. The water keeps the blades from overheating and the wedges prevent the blades from binding.
A worker carries a carbide tipped saw blade used to cut large blocks of various types of stone.
A worker taps wooden wedges into the saw cuts to keep the blades from binding.
Workers grind and shape white travertine.
The touch test – almost like silk
The form of the face of the arch is traced onto a partially cut block
A block of Alicante Rojo marble is being transferred to the finishing factory where it will be transformed into a 40+ foot high arch.
The block is kerfed to the outline.
The precise depths of the kerfs make it possible to rough in the exacting form with hammers and chisels.
The workers at the Mariotti factory are highly skilled craftsmen. A misplaced blow could fracture the block as the kerfed marble is chipped off to what will eventually be a section of the arch (on the background). The entire 40+ foot arch will be shipped to the Momentum Center in Dallas after it is preassembled, checked for flaws, disassembled, and packed.
Arch parts are buffed to a high sheen. Quarry and factory owner, Carlo Mariotti is in the field more than the office. He checks for the perfection that is always his goal.
The disassembled arch is ready for packing and shipping.
The completed Alicante Rojo marble arch in the Momentum Place in Dallas.