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Terrazzo History

Terrazzo was originally created in Italy over 1500 hundred years ago by Venetian workers searching for a way to use discarded marble remnants – making it one of the world’s first “green” flooring systems. In keeping with its original premise of recycle/reuse, today’s terrazzo installations combine exceptional beauty, extreme design flexibility, durability to last the life of the building, and incredible ease of maintenance with the best practices of sustainable building. Terrazzo has long been valued for its life cycle characteristics, and can also contribute to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) credits for new construction.

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This photo has been passed down from within the Di Filippo family through The Venice Art Terrazzo Company’s founder John Di Filippo. It depicts a terrazzo installation and finishing crew in the early 1900s.This rare photo shows the terrazzo mechanics with trowel in hand and the finishers with the galera. A galera is a traditional grinding tool in use before electricity and the use of modern grinders.

It has been shared with the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, courtesy Venice Art Terrazzo Company. It has also appeared in print magazines and in a hardbound book titled “Twenty-Century Building Materials” History and Conservation, edited by Thomas Jester National Parkservice, page 236.