Cansiglio stone

A stone with manifold uses

Purity and elegance of the Cansiglio stone
Caio Flavio Ostilio and his wife Domitia’s sarcophagus, now in Palazzo Crepadona (Belluno), was made in Roman times and with Cansiglio stone. This testifies tha Prandarola quarry (near Pian Rosada) was already operating and in fact the extracted stone has been widely used for its characteristics in the following centuries. Outside Belluno Civic Museum the capitals made in Cansiglio stone are another historic example. Cansiglio stone is a white limestone with more or less fine grain, it has good mechanical and working characteristics, it is antifreeze and does not absorb water.

 Today there are two main quarries: in Tambre d’Alpago, there is a quarry pit where talc for pharmaceutical use is extracted and; in Col delle Fratte (Pianon) the bianco di Pianon (Pianon’s white) is extracted. The latter is a stone similar to ancient Cansiglio stone, ivory white and well workable. The stone is extracted by Grigolin. Uncoloured marbles, such as Cansiglio stone, are rich in pure calcium carbonate, which is used by a wide variety of industries, such as food and medical ones. Marble powder is also a component in colorants and varnishes, in toothpastes and plastics and is also used in papermaking industry, together with kaolin.

Whole uncrushed pieces for industries are cut in blocks by Uberti Marmi, who cuts the hugest erratics in the quarry, which, once cut in big blocks, are then sawed in plates and shims for interior fittings, such as worktables, bathtubs, basins, design objects and floors, but also for outdoors, such as façade elements, thresholds, windowsills and floorings.

 In Alpago, you can still find erratics known as “pietra canterina” (“singing stone”) with very fine grain, suitable for sculptures and artifacts. When interesting pieces are found, they are set aside for local artists. Master Franco Fiabane is one of such artists, one of the greatest lovers of this stone, and he has been carving it for over 60 years, giving us magnificent sculptures, like the Via Crucis in Madonna di Lourdes Church in Nevegal. He loves calling it “pietra di Sant’Anna” (St. Anne stone), named after the village where it was once quarried.

The Stone and its architecture today


Brushed-stone kitchen basin and worktable in Cansiglio stone, private house, Garna d’Alpago.


Fountain extracted from Cansiglio stone, with hand blunted and bush-hammered finishes with chiselled parts. Spert d’Alpago square.


Detail of the fountain representing a rhombus decorated with leaves and hand-worked with chisel. Spert d’Alpago square.


Stoup with polished “owl-beak” border and rounded edge worked with chiselled, bush-hammered parts, Schiucaz di Tambre church.


Coat of arms of Tambre municipality.


Sketch for headstone and finished work in Cansiglio stone with natural oxides pigmentation technique.

The Stone and its architecture yesterday


Cansiglio stone Roman sarcophagus 3rd century AD. Palazzo Crepadona, Belluno.


Private courtyard wall. Puos d’Alpago.


Franco Fiabane’s sculpture. Old section: using Roman boundary stone found and worked in Via Altinate, leading from Rome to Santiago de Compostela; new section: linear modern sculpture, the figure is derived from the composition and decomposition of triangular figures.


Old bush-hammered urn with polished parts. Private house, Alpago.


Detail: old bush-hammered urn with polished parts. Private house, Alpago.


Details of the Alchemist’s house façade in Cansiglio stone, late baroque. Valdenogher. Notice the bas-relief in Rosso Secca, above the arch.


Detail, bas-relief keystone in Cansiglio stone.


Original gate and recently made stairs in Cansiglio stone, Schiucaz di Tambre church, Alpago.


Original gate in Cansiglio stone, Farra d’Alpago church.


Classic window-frame in Cansiglio stone.

For an analysis of the features of the material go to the Cansiglio stone technical page.