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Ancient stones on the streets

Pavé is the term used to name the typical street flooring of the city centre of Milan and other European historical city centres. In Milan this patrimony is protected by the superintendence of the cultural heritage. It can be found in plates, stone cubes (basalt for the “sanpietrini” and porphyry cobbles for the “bolognini”) or pebbles. They are sealed by using sand or a mix of sand and concrete and have been used since the ancient Romans age. Pavé in fact is appreciated for its long-lasting maintenance and resistance to scrapings, the versatility of laying onto any surface and capacity of harmoniously adapting to the inclination of the soil, as well as being almost non-slippery. If well placed, it requires a constant yet sustainable maintenance.
Among the positive factors, exalted by the peaks of growing heat: a good drainage of rain and snow (which avoids flooding) and the good absorbing of summer heat of the soil. Differently from the concrete castings which, shorten timings and costs but make the management of intense rains and the great heats of the current climates. Not even to mention are the fast degradation of the public concrete mantles that need re-pavement every 4 to 5 years. In many north-european countries, pavé is still chosen for all of the above reasons (as well as to slow down traffic in the streets), while the Italian administrations are not seeming to want to keep it in the rebuilding of roads and whole neighbourhoods (because of excavations, new water pipes and tube lines) and struggle to finance its maintenance. The result is that who drives bicycles risks to fall down and who is crossing by foot stumbles in the wholes or the higher blocks, etc.
A noble and favourable paving becomes intolerable, how come? Luckily there are some exceptions, some projects we are very proud about: for example the pavé flooring requalification to artwork of some areas of the municipality of Milan, using ancient stones recovered from abandoned construction sites. The beautiful pictures taken by the photographer Leo Torri for the journal Domus witness the works done by the Saint Eustorgio church in Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie and Piazza Missori. We thank him for allowing us to publich them.

Ancient stones on the streets

A biodynamic life
by Giuliana Zoppis

Ancient stones on the streets

News, events, products and services for an innovative and conscious lifestyle:
all that can give an ecologic shift to everyday actions with responsibility, curiosity, creativity and the desire of improving us and the world we live in.

This is the section led by Giuliana Zoppis, architect, journalist and expert of ecodesign, biobuilding and socio-environmental sustainability. In 2006, together with Clara Mantica , she founded Best Up the first chain for promoting the sustainable living.