pISSN 0705-3797 eISSN 2586-1298
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Episodes 2021; 44(3): 259-271

Published online September 1, 2021


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Pietraforte, the Florentine building material from the Middle Ages to contemporary architecture

Elena Pecchioni1, Fabio Fratini2, Enrico Pandeli1,3, Emma Cantisani2, Silvia Vettori 2*

1 Department of Earth Sciences- University of Firenze, Via G. La Pira, 4, Firenze, Italy
2 CNR- ISPC - Institute of Heritage Science (Florence Unit), Via Madonna del Piano, 10, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy
3 CNR-IGG - Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources (Florence Unit) - Via G. La Pira, 4, Firenze, Italy

Correspondence to:*E-mail: fabio.fratini@cnr.it; emma.cantisani@cnr.it; silvia.vettori@cnr.it

Received: April 20, 2020; Revised: September 23, 2020; Accepted: September 23, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pietraforte sandstone is the building material of the Medieval Florence (Italy). This was due to the proximity of its quarries to the city, its availability, ease extraction from the quarry face and to the particular characteristics of durability of the stone, suitable for the buildings and monuments cladding. Florence can be defined as a city in Pietraforte, and this makes it necessary its detailed characterization. The paper reports the geological setting of the Pietraforte sandstone, the mineralogical-petrographic characterization, the physical parameters and also a mineralogical method (based on clay minerals association) for the identification of the source quarries of the most important historical buildings. The knowledge of this lithotype allowed to better understand its decay phenomena.