Romanelli Wallcovering and Ancient Finish Painting
Veneer Old World Italian Plasters
Traditional low gloss "Marmorino" and polished semi-gloss or high gloss "Grassello".
- Fine powdered limestone, marble dust, earth colarants or universal tinting colorants and water applied with
a large brush. Similar to faux painted "color wash" but real plaster. Lime Wash can be troweled smooth and can be polished to a high gloss.
Marmorino Veneziano is a plaster decoration used on walls. It was used as far back as Roman times, but was made popular once more during the Renaissance 500 years ago in Venice.
It is made from crushed marble and lime putty, which can be tinted to give a wide range of colors. This can then be applied to make many textures, from polished marble to natural stone effects.
Marmorino is well known as a classic venetian plaster; however, its origins are much older, dating to ancient Roman times. We can see evidence of it today in the villas of Pompeii and in various Roman structures. In addition, it was also written about in Vitruvio’s "De Architectura", a 1st Century B.C. history of Rome. Marmorino was rediscovered centuries later after the discovery of Vitruvio’s ancient treatise in the 15th century. This 'new' plaster conformed well to the aesthetic requirements dictated by the classical ideal that in the 15th century had recently become fashionable in the Venetian lagoon area. Marmorino maintained its prestige for centuries until the end of the 1800’s when interest in it faded and was considered only an economical solution to the use of marble. Only at the end of the 1970’s, thanks in part to the architect, Carlo Scarpa’s use of marmorino, did this finishing technique return to the interest of the best modern architects.
Grassello translates as "fat" or "grease" in Italian. It is the polish or the fat of the lime putty marble mixture taken to a high gloss by "burnishing" - polishing with the plaster trowel held at a particular angle. The look can also be achieved by varnishes and waxing the plaster.
Venetian plaster in a living room. Two coats of Marmarino with gloss Grassello plaster top coats. Click picture for night time image.
Two coats Marmarino and gloss Grassello coats in a bath. The door and frame are pine stained to look old.
Updated February 2020 Ancient Finish - Romanelli Wallcovering 180 Talmadge Road, #9 IGO Building, Edison, NJ 08817