Ornamental stones in the cultural heritage of Campania region (southern Italy): the Vitulano marbles
Francesco Allocca, Domenico Calcaterra, Gabriella Calicchio, Piergiulio Cappelletti, Abner Colella, Alessio Langella, Maurizio de' Gennaro, 2010. "Ornamental stones in the cultural heritage of Campania region (southern Italy): the Vitulano marbles", Natural Stone Resources for Historical Monuments, R Přikryl, Á Török
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The marbles exploited between Vitulano and Cautano (Benevento province, Campania region, Italy), have been widely utilized (at least from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century) in several important monumental buildings of the region, due to their good properties and peculiar aesthetic qualities. They are limestones deriving from the filling of palaeo-cavities, carved into an emerged Cretaceous calcareous platform, by calcareous breccias, bauxite and alabastrine deposits. Such cavities are the result of both jointing and karst processes. The studied outcrops of the Vitulano Marbles are affected by a complex joint pattern in terms of attitude and spacing, which results in rock blocks highly variable in volume. Regarding the mineralogical composition, calcite is definitely predominant whereas the insoluble residue is constituted by low amounts of dolomite, bohemite, ematite and kaolinite. The petrophysical characterization put in evidence fairly good geomechanical properties, only partly affected by the geostructural anisotropy of the rock.
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Natural stone is considered to be a versatile, durable and aesthetically pleasing building material. From the beginning of civilization, important structures and monuments have been built from, or based on, natural stone. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the use of local stone resources was mostly in balance with the local environment. Strict environmental legislation has resulted in the closing of many long-standing quarries in industrialized countries, which has led to a shortage of traditional stone varieties. This has caused problems for restoration practice. Cheap, imported stone from less industrialized countries has become more widely available in recent years.
Some of the issues related to built stone conservation and restoration covered by this volume are: the establishment of inventories of possible replacement stones; understanding the decay mechanism and use of preventive conservation methods for slowing down decay processes; evaluation of the properties of natural stone; and assessing the risks of using replacement stones of different qualities.