We The Italians | Italian handcrafts: Viterbo Stone

Italian handcrafts: Viterbo Stone

Italian handcrafts: Viterbo Stone

  • WTI Magazine #143 Sep 18, 2021
  • 145

The richness of the Tuscia subsoil has caused this area to become an important centre for the processing of stones, especially peperino (a type of volcanic tuff), which is worked by hand by particularly talented stonemasons, who have turned stone into an art form by creating interior and exterior fixtures, restorations, coverings, flooring, garden furniture and street furniture.

This stone has been used since the Palaeolithic era and later by the Etruscans for their sarcophagi and by the Romans for their public buildings, eventually becoming the dominant building material for Medieval and Renaissance constructions.

In ancient times, peperino was used in the area around Viterbo for the construction of the Roman Theatre in Ferento, and later, in the Medieval period, for the construction of various districts, including some of the most characteristic towns in the area.

The use of this stone also played an important role in the Renaissance period. Even today, activities connected to the peperino supply chain are still very widespread, and range from extraction to artistic working and cladding.

The local area

Peperino is a tuff stone typical of the area around Monti Cimini. This stone protrudes from the Cimino volcano, forming a plateau with a radius of around 15 km, the epicentre of which is the Municipality of Vitorchiano.

Extraction and transformation activities are concentrated in this area, though the latter is fairly widespread throughout the rest of the province and in the capital. The artisanal processing of stone is typical of the whole province of Viterbo.

By Camera di Commercio di Viterbo with Unioncamere