Berbenno stone is extracted exclusively in the Imagna Valley around Berbenno and Ponte Giurino, from Jurassic limestone (formed in the Upper Norian period, i.e. between 215 and 204 million years ago) belonging to the formation of Riva Solto argillite. This formation outcrops in Lombardy along an east-to-west belt from Lake Iseo to Lake Lugano. It consists of a regular alternation of argillite, limestone and marl layers, consolidated sediments of an ancient tropical bay characterized by closed basins and lagoons.
The extraction of Berbenno stone takes place in the open air through the use of mechanical means, while the selection and processing of individual pieces is done exclusively by artisans and still performed today as it was in the past.
From a technical point of view, Berbenno stone is a rock which has unusual durability, in addition to good mechanical strength and frost resistance, properties that make it particularly suitable for outdoors uses.
Locally, the use of Berbenno stone is one of most peculiar characters of the Imagna and the Taleggio Valleys, whose rural architecture represents a true "cultural island" featuring very original shapes and construction techniques uncommon in adjacent alpine areas. The oldest artefacts in the region are evidence to the durability and beauty of this durable material: the traditional hand-made cleft finish, which has survived to this day, complements the simple, genuine charm of the stone, used mainly for wall coatings, paving and the characteristic roofing made of orderly overlapping layers on a steep pitch.
Uses for pietra di Berbenno