Origin of the Italian Black Slate a stone of ancient origins

The Italian Black Slate is a metamorphic stone of sedimentary origin, part of the clayey shale family, which represents a variety of easily workable limestone-clay shale, waterproof and weather resistant and is classified as soft or semi-hard.

The Italian Black Slate probably has its origins about 2200 years ago when it was used in the area of Tigullio, that is in the area between the town of Sestri Levante and Val Fontanabuona (Liguria), where it is still extracted today.

The slate tends to lighten from the moment of extraction to assume a light gray pigmentation, while its dark shade is due to carbon residues that once in contact with oxygen, moisture and ultraviolet radiation oxidize.

The Italian black slate is also known by the name of “blackboard”: it, in fact, took its name from the homonymous locality of the Eastern Riviera that until the last century was the main commercial center of this stone.

Characteristics of the Italian Black Slate

italian black slate splitted

The Italian Black Slate is a stone with interesting technical characteristics: it is in fact a waterproof material, resistant to compression, bending and impact, easy to be honed, non-porous and very resistant to fire.

These properties make it a particularly versatile material and therefore suitable for use both indoors and outdoors.

Thanks to its resistance, it is perfect for obtaining smooth slabs of constant thickness with a high degree of elasticity.

The Italian black slate gives its name to the homonymous color, which looks like a gray shade with light blue reflections.

slab of italian black slate splitted

The Italian black slate gives its name to the homonymous color, which looks like a gray shade with light blue reflections.

This stone is often characterized by shades, more or less marked and mainly gray, due to the composition of the soil from which it is extracted (if black extracted, it is also used to make school boards).

Processing of the Italian Black Slate

The processing of Italian Black Slate is not very different from that of the past. Even today, in fact, it is not sawn with frame or wire.

Very important is still the work of the “splitting-man” to flake the “stumps” (blocks) into thin slabs and thus exploit the natural fixity of the stone.

slab of italian black slate honed

The slabs with splitted surface are the most requested because this is precisely the process that distinguishes black slate from any other material.

The geomorphological characteristics of the Italian black slate make it particularly suitable for any type of slab processing.

Use of Italian Black Slate in outdoor and indoor environments

In Italy, the Italian Black Slate slabs are used in particular for indoor and outdoor coverings.

Over the millennia, it has always been one of the main materials used to make roof tiles, as well as being used for Renaissance portals decorated in relief and for supports for oil paintings, tempera or fresco.

Today, however, it is the material used to make billiard sheets placed under the carpet and irreplaceable because of the high strength and non-deformability. In addition, it is perfect for creating fine architectural finishes, both in the restoration of vintage buildings and in the most modern design solutions.

The splitted surface of the Italian black slate is also suitable for outdoor use, as for claddings of facades, floors, stairs.

In the interiors, however, it is also used for the realization of kitchen tops, bathroom tops, tables, shower trays and various furnishing accessories.

Being of an elegant and versatile color, it is widely used both for the realization of walls and for that of floors in interior design and combines very well with shades such as turquoise, orange, red, ivory, sand and brown.

The Italian black slate is a resistant material with particular characteristics, such as waterproofing, excellent workability and easy to be honed, great resistance to fire, long life and resistance to erosion and weathering.

Thanks to its uniform grey/anthracite colouring and to the regular type of split, it is the most appreciated type of slate on the stone market, as well as the most requested by international architects.

Alberti & Alberti has on stock a wide selection of Italian Black Slate slabs with two splitted surfaces.

See the availability here.

In addition, thanks to our own dedicated machines, we can create polished and brushed surfaces with the additional possibility of providing the second flat surface.
For information, contact us.



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