13 April 2007

Pavimenti della strada

Piazza del Colosseo, Roma
In Italy they have been paving roads for several thousand years going back to the time of the Roman Empire, and parts of these roads still exist and are being used everyday. Concrete and asphalt paving are used on new roads and the highways but here in the centro storico of Ascoli Piceno many of the roads are stone, laid by hand one at a time. This can make for an uneven surface when subjected regularly to heavy loads and can make for tricky walking, definitely requires that you look ahead at the road in front of you while walking.

These stone roads are laid with round stones, square cut stones and combinations of both. The square stones are actually cone shaped and are set on a base of sand and can easily be pulled up for subsurface work and relayed. I have seen this done several times where only enough of the road surface is pulled for the work required. Unfortunately I also see many places where the stones were not replaced with much care as they do not blend with the existing road or the repaired area has begun to sink.

Still this is a much more appealing way to surface a road in this medieval city than asphalt.

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