Maintaining a high level of stone craftsmanship
May 1, 2006
Used for centuries to build dwellings and villages along the Apennines - a mountain range stretching a little more than 600 miles from the north to the south of Italy along its east coast - Tufa is a volcanic stone resembling the appearance of brick. While porous and a little softer than other basalts, the material has remained popular for building and landscape designs throughout the decades. Capitalizing on this niche market, Tufitalia has been quarrying Tufa Stone since 1953. The company not only is an experienced quarrier of the material, but also employs a skilled staff of stone artisans who create detailed ornamental work.
â€œThis ancient stone is everlasting, warm, beautiful and easy to work,â€ stated Danilo Paludi, one of the owners of Tufitalia. â€œOnce upon a time, it was used for rural houses, but nowadays, it is used for prestigious modern villas and restoring city centers. Tufitalia aims at stimulating architects' creativity by offering a wide range of Tufa blocks.â€
Paludi went on to explain that Tufa Stone possesses several essential qualities, such as it being insulating and environmental-friendly, while not needing any form of treatment. â€œToday, building a Tufa house is easy and cheap - walls are not in contact with the ground, as it is for any building having foundations, so there is no danger of damage from humidity,â€ he stated. â€œIf required, we also treat the Tufa with water-repellent substances which eliminate the 'wet' effect when it rains.â€
Although small in size, Tufitalia is an experienced firm with an efficient operation. The company's quarries are located in Civita Castellana, just outside of Viterbo. Through the years, Tufitalia has honed its quarrying skills of Tufa Stone, allowing it to detect the best seams in open-pit quarries. At the time of Stone World's visit, quarry workers were extracting blocks from a site that the company has owned for 12 years. The quarry itself has been in operation for 30 years.
The extraction process involves freeing individual pieces with special cutting machines, which work down to more than 165 feet deep from the surface. As quarriers get farther down, the stone becomes stronger and more compact.
The coloring of Tufa Stone varies from a shade of red to chocolate brown. According to Tufitalia, the stone's porosity helps with the freeze/thaw cycle because there is room for expansion.
Handcrafted productsPrimarily, the company specializes in the production of curbing and pavers. Additionally, it does a significant amount of handwork. â€œTufitalia has a team of very skilled craftsmen who chisel Tufa blocks into wonderful tables, fountains, vases or flower pots,â€ stated Paludi. â€œEach piece is one-of-the-kind, and some are so elaborate that they take several days of work. We also make exclusive customized pieces.â€
To showcase its collection of handcrafted stone products, Tufitalia maintains an outdoor â€œshowroom,â€ allowing its customers to view displays of various applications. Ideal for public parks and other outdoor settings, Tufa Stone can enhance an overall design and upgrade the landscaping.
In addition to Tufa Stone, Tufitalia is a supplier of other natural stone products, rocks, pebbles, granulates and hand-printed antiqued baked clay objects.