The sampietrino, also known as "selcio", is the small block of flint extracted from the quarries located at the foot of the Alban Hills (but also from the volcanic areas of the Viterbo area).  By extension the same definition is also used for similar blocks of other material, for example porphyry.

The term "sampietrini" means the typical pavement in the historic center of Rome.  It is made up of tiles, cubes cut in the shape of a truncated pyramid, arranged side by side, used in the past for the paving of Italian and above all Roman roads.

The first "pavements" appear in the Roman tradition in a fairly modern age: invented in the sixteenth century to make the carriages slide better, since they are able to be smoothed by the friction of the wagons, they took the name of "cobblestones" or "sampietrini" because the  the first were placed in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Sixtus V in 1585 used them for the first time, while Clemente XII Corsini in 1736 made extensive use of them on the streets of the districts (then still 14) and on Via del Corso, where in the days of racing they were covered with sand and chopped  tuff.  The use of the sampietrino to pave the streets, especially in Rome, became more and more frequent in the 17th and 18th centuries.  With the unification of Italy, sampietrino becomes a very popular material.
In piazza Navona, after the breach of Porta Pia (1870), the pavement was renewed with the construction of a large central pavement in cobblestones.

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