Viewing Stones of the Lombardy Region of Italy
Lombardy, an administrative region in northwestern Italy that includes Milan, is an area where many nice viewing stones are found. This is especially true in the Bergamo valleys where compact limestone deposits are abundant. These ancient marine sediments occurring in thick lens in the earth are rich in organic material of plant origin that give the stones their black, brownish, blue, or ash colors. The presence of quartz adds to the hardness of these stones. These limestone deposits are utilized in construction while selected smaller pieces are being appreciated for their aesthetic qualities.
Because these limestone lens have been weathered over thousands of years and then exposed, often during road or lake construction projects, individual stones are easy to remove from the soil. Sometimes, these stones can be found on the surface in woodlands near Bergamo. Acids from the rain and from decaying organic materials help to further weather and erode these stones. These stones are easily cleaned using stiff stainless steel brushes that expose their natural dark surfaces. A patina will develop that gives the stones an aged appearance.
The shapes of the Bergamo stones are highly variable; thus, many types of stones—figure, cliffs, caves, human and animal forms, and abstract—are found in these valleys. This provides an opportunity to go beyond the traditional mountain shaped stones typical of the Ligurian palombino deposits. These interesting lombardy stones add diversity to the types found and utilized as viewing stones in Italy.
These stones were first collected by Ezio Piovanelli followed later by Cesare Fumagalli, and now by Pietro Prudentino. Pietro lives in the Bergamo region of Lombardy and is continuing to find new sites that are yielding great new viewing stones.