Patterned after Venice

Sara of WordPressWeekly Photo Challenge wants us to channel our inner Sherlock Holmes or Doc Watson this week and go in search of PATTERNS.

Decorative Pavimento alla Veneziano | ©Tom Palladio Images

I could provide a series of chalk lines spread out on the floor in a crime-scene pattern, a la the Baker Street Boys, but I’ll focus, instead, on a different type of pavement pattern.

I mentioned a little while back, when I invited everyone over for a virtual look-see at my humble digs on the piano nobile, that the single most important factor in my renting the apartment were the colorful and decorative pavimento alla Veneziano (Venetian terrazzo) floors.

Pavimento alla Veneziana floor design

This style of flooring is a technique of composing and covering large contiguous surfaces with thousands of differently shaped and colored pieces of marble and stone pebbles, arranged in an assortment of artistic patterns and random designs.

With its roots dating back to the Roman school of mosaic work, the terrazzo (terrace) floor is one of the oldest forms of paving used in architecture. It was craftsmen from the Friuli region, in Italy’s extreme northeast, that rediscovered the ancient Roman style, known as battutto (beaten), and began showcasing the art of ornamental paving.

Pavimento alla Veneziana design | ©Tom Palladio Images

Thanks to a commercial construction boon in 8th century Venice, these terrazzer (terrazzo layers) from the Friuli brought their skills to the Lagoon.

By the beginning of the 1400s, the start of the Renaissance, the beaten floor was the most widely used form of paving in Venice and the surrounding stately country villas of the Veneto region as well as other Italian cities.

Because of its success in and around The Most Serene Republic of Venice, the beaten floor became widely known as pavimento alla Veneziano.

Pavimento alla Veneziana design | ©Tom Palladio Images

Down through the years the traditional Venetian technique of machineless, hands-on cutting, hammering, trawling, grinding and polishing has only been mastered by a select few who were schooled in this art of flooring in Venice and the surrounding areas of the Veneto.

It’s no wonder that a traditionally laid pavimento alla Veneziano is one of the most expensive and, thus, envied style of flooring the world over.

For complete information on pavimento alla Veneziana — classic and contemporary — visit the official guild site of the Consorzio Il Terrazzo alla Veneziana (Venetian Terrazzo Consortium) HERE.

Boy, I really lucked out when I signed that apartment rental agreement, didn’t I?

©The Palladian Traveler

 TPT's Borsalino over Venetian floor | ©Tom Palladio Images



  1. Very interesting history lesson, Tom. Thanks for that and the pics of your floor. You made a very good choice in digs.

  2. It’s so unfortunate for me that as an Italian designer I cannot propose any of the Italian mastery for my clients here in the States. Prices are too prohibitive and Americans don’t pay for it.

    1. Valentina — The Venetian pavement is quite common around Vicenza and elsewhere in the Veneto. Cost prohibitive in the US due to the lack of real flooring experts who actually studied the ancient craft. I’ll bet they buy a lot of so-called Venetian tile, if they choose Italian, don’t they?

      1. Tom, in Italy people like to have beautiful homes and don’t care for the cost. If something is beautiful and stylish, they want it, look at fashion too! Here in the States, people are into low cost and practical stuff whether they wear it or live in it. If things have a high price, or requires lot of care, they automatically discard it. For me, being Italian and wanting to propose stylish designs in people’s homes it’s not always possible.

  3. Just read this blog for the first time when I went on line to search for information on pavimenti alla veneziana. i too have a great love for that style of flooring and have always been fond of terrazzo. Love your photographs of the floor in Vicenza.

Leave a Reply