Travertine forms from geothermal springs and is often linked to siliceous systems that form siliceous sinter, bryophytes, algae, cyanobacteria, and other organisms often colonize the surface of travertine and are preserved, giving travertine its distinctive porosity. Travertine is often used as a building material. The Romans mined deposits of travertine for building temples, aqueducts, monuments, bath complexes, and amphitheaters such as the Colosseum, the largest building in the world constructed mostly of travertine.
Travertine is one of several natural stones that are used for paving patios and garden paths. It is sometimes known as travertine limestone or travertine marble; these are the same stone, although travertine is classified properly as a type of limestone, not marble. The stone is characterized by pitted holes and troughs in its surface. Although these troughs occur naturally, they suggest signs of considerable wear and tear over time. Some installers use a grout to fill the holes; whereas others leave them open travertine can be purchased “filled” or “unfilled.” It can also be polished to a smooth, shiny finish, and comes in a variety of colors from grey to coral-red. Travertine is most commonly available in slab and also in tile sizes for floor installations.
Travertine is one of the most frequently used stones in modern architecture. It is a commonly used for façades, wall cladding, and flooring. The relative softness of the stone, combined with its holes and troughs, make travertine flooring difficult to finish and maintain. Aggressive grinding – sometimes called honing – can reveal previously hidden air pockets that significantly change the look of the floor. Most of the imports come from Iran and Italy. A decade ago, Italy and Iran had a monopoly on the world travertine market