Portoro marble features

Portoro marble features

Polychrome marble

Portoro marble – also called the black marble of Portovenere – is an Italian variety of very fine marble and comes from Liguria, in particular from the famous Gulf of Poets, in the province of La Spezia.

Portoro marble is considered the most expensive black marble in the world, as well as one of the most beautiful polychrome marbles in existence.

Author’s note: polychrome marbles are those with multiple colours. At this link you will find a beautiful study in Italian on the polychrome marbles of Roberto Santamaria taken from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, State Archive of Genoa.


Portoro marble features
(photo) Black Portoro marble – slab of extra Portoro present in the Be marmi Carrara’s Warehouse.

One of the fundamental characteristics of Portoro marble – in addition to the golden veins ranging from pure yellow to honey – is the background colour which must be as dark as possible until reaching the so-called “black sepia”.

It is so intense and brilliantly black in colour that it leaves everyone fascinated by it.

This characteristic is typical of all our Portoro marble that we have in stock and it definitely changes the optical effect of the material itself at the time of polishing and installation.


Portoro marble in antiquity

The peculiarity of its appearance makes it a unique marble, irreplaceable as an ornamental material. There is no such stone in the world, equally characteristic and so luxurious and sophisticated.

Portoro is a real work of natural art, which makes it impossible not to be enchanted by it.

This marble, probably already used by the Etruscans, was used in the Roman city of Luni in the paving of the Roman road of the Cardo-Maximum and in the Amphitheater (Pandolfi, 1971) – extracted from Sara Odino’s degree thesis (see final notes).

  • We find Portoro marble in the imperial villas of ancient Rome and we also find it in the most luxurious buildings of the Renaissance, in Roman churches and in the most luxurious European palaces of the 19th century.

During this period, it was mainly used in Switzerland, Belgium and France, where in particular, it was used in Versailles.

In the Renaissance period there was a return to the use of marble following the rediscovery of classical taste. During the reign of Cosimo I de’ Medici there was a great boost in the  research and extraction of polychrome marbles such as Giallo Siena, Brecce Medicee and Portoro. There are various examples in Italy and Europe also in the Baroque period. (source Wikipedia see final notes)

In Rome it was used for the interiors (floors and altars) of various churches such as San Pietro in Vincoli, San Silvestro in Capite, San Paolo- outside the walls, San Giovanni in Laterano, San Lorenzo – outside the walls, Santa Maria Maddalena in Campo Marzio, Santi Giovanni e Paolo, San Luigi dei Francesi. (source Wikipedia see final notes)


Technical characteristics of Portoro marble

Data                                                                           Type

Colour                                                                       Black

Country                                                                     Italy

Use                                                                            Interior

Compression                                                              1862

Flexibility                                                                  104

Breaking                                                                    No. d.

Absorption                                                                0.080

Portoro marble has been used for centuries in all top-level processes and extra-luxury coverings. In fact, we find it in the most beautiful historic Italian buildings.

Portoro is a stone of great beauty suitable for interior furnishings.

Its originality and elegance make it one of the best stones suitable for fine coverings, including floors, false ceilings, walls and decorative accents. As well as for many modern furnishing accessories: fireplaces, columns, sculptures, tops, and more.

Black Portoro marble amazes in interiors, bathrooms, kitchens, countertops, showers and water areas.

Cava di portoro
(photo) Table in black Portoro marble inside the Portovenere Capitolare Tower.


It is therefore no coincidence that the extraordinary beauty of black Portoro marble makes it particularly loved (and used) by important architects and interior designers from all over the world, who have used it in projects for large buildings, towers, shopping centres, hotels and luxury villas all over the world.

In short, black Portoro marble is something unique that only Italy can boast of having. Indeed, to be honest, only the Portovenere area in the province of La Spezia.


How to get Portoro marble:

Portoro black marble:


Article sources

“Features of Portoro marble” is an article born and assembled from multiple sources, such as:

  • BEMarmi
  • Degree thesis by Sara Odino (academic year 2004/2005) – University of Parma. Faculty of MM.FF.NN. Degree Course in Geological Sciences. October 26, 2005
  • Wikipedia.org/wiki/Portoro



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