What is travertine?

Travertine marble, also known as travertine, is a porous limestone formed by calcium carbonate deposits and which in the most common conditions has a light, yellowish-white colour.

Travertine has been used since the times of ancient Rome as an ornamental stone in all kinds of constructions, whether public, such as monuments and churches, or private, for facade cladding or the decoration of all kinds of interior elements, thanks to its compact and crystalline texture, as well as its smooth and pleasant appearance that offers both the eye and to the touch.

The word Travertine, in spanish, has its origin in the Italian word of the same name -travertino-, which comes from the Latin term lapis tiburtinus, which means “stone of Tibur”, referring to the ancient city in the province of Rome (today called Tivoli), located precisely at the foot of the mountains in whose quarries the precious material was extracted.

Components and types of travertines

Travertine is a rock that originates from the deposition of calcium carbonate in spring waters and hot springs resulting in a limestone composed of layers of calcite and aragonite for the most part, but with small portions of other minerals, such as limonite, which ultimately give the marble its beautiful luminous hues, ranging from yellow to grey, through a wide range of brown and reddish tones. 

Thus, as a sample of this vast range of tonalities, we have the following travertine marbles: 

  • Classic Travertine: With its staggered strips of beige and brown tones, this travertine marble is, as its name suggests, a classic in the history of construction, and the material with which numerous buildings and monuments of ancient Rome, among other civilisations, were clad.
  • Transparent Travertine: Honey or light brown in colour, transparent travertine looks as if it has just been polished by nature itself, with an exceptional shine and smoothness on its outer layer. 
  • Silver Travertine: This unique travertine, mined in quarries in countries such as Iran and Turkey, has a beautiful silvery colour, but not only various shades of grey, but also brownish and even greenish veins.

Travertine advantages

Resistance and durability: Travertine marble is suitable for carving and practically any treatment you wish to carry out on it. But what stands out above all is the hardness of its mineral composition, which makes it invulnerable to extreme thermal conditions, or aggressive agents such as abrasion or humidity, and also gives it enormous resistance to knocks and scratches. Another great advantage of travertine is that its colours do not change over the years, so that whatever travertine marble you choose, the work made with it will retain its beauty and qualities for life. 

Versatility and beauty: travertine marble is one of the most beautiful and elegant materials in existence, formed over the centuries, and the good thing is that there is a type of travertine that, due to its texture and shades, will be suitable for any surface and room in the house. 

Easy to clean: In addition to all this, travertine is easy to clean thanks to its special structure, as well as the fact that any disinfectant liquid can be applied to it and, moreover, oxidants as corrosive as bleach or ammonia. In other words, all you have to worry about is killing germs.


Uses and Applications

Travertines uses: interior and outdoors

Thanks to the above-mentioned characteristics of resistance and durability, travertine marble is a very versatile material, as it can be used both in façades and external surfaces, as well as for the ornamentation of any kind of interior elements.

Thus, inside home, travertine is often used in washbasins, countertops and, in general, all types of bathroom and kitchen cladding, not excluding fllors and, of course, walls.

Outdoors, travertine marble is mainly used in swimming pool surrounds, terraces, outdoor corridors, or the façade of a house, due to its ability to withstand inclement weather (cold, rain, continuous exposure to sunlight, etc.), which, as we have seen, will not diminish the colour or shine of travertine.


The most traditional finishes that are used for the treatment of travertine marble and that, of course, you can find in our Marfil Traver warehouses, are the ones listed below. 

Raw finish: This finish offers the most similar appearance to the original: the most rustic in appearance and also the one that best preserves the porosity and original characteristics of the natural travertine stone. For all these reasons, it is perhaps the most recommendable for installation in exterior works. 

Polished finish: By smoothing and polising the stone in its original state, the polishing process gives travertine a special shine and luminosity, as well as an incredible softness and smoothness to the touch, making this finish perfect for interior surfaces and, in particular, bathroom and kitchen elements such as washbasins and worktops. 

Honed finish: Using a similar procedure to the previous one, through the use of abrasives, but without using the finest grains – those that give the shine-, honing gives the travertine marble a smooth and soft aspect, but not shiny or glossy, but completely matt. This last characteristic is, perhaps, what makes this type of finish the most suitable for flooring and wall cladding, but it can also be a great solution for the façade of the house or other outdoor architectural elements. 

Bushhamered finish: This technique, which is one of the most ancient techniques used in construction, we achieve a rough and uniform appearance on travertine stone, while at the same time turning it into a completely non-slip surface, which cab be particularly suitable for staris or elements around a swimming pool, such as borders or floors. This finish is also often used for façades and wall cladding, especially outdoors.