Marbles have been objects of great interest through the centuries and particularly from the 16th century the passion of collecting or cataloging them has been a real topic for the art historian. Antique marbles coming from classical sculptures and architectures have been an object of historical study and research, but also scientific and commercial. The collector fascinated by the veining, the colours and the antiquity of the material has always been looking for slabs and specimens to put together: therefore, porphyry cobbles, diaspores, pebbles have been used as simple plans or assembled with splendid chromatic and aesthetic taste. In this way, marbles regained life in new furniture and architectures both as an object to boast about as a piece of wunderkammer when they are rare pieces or as countertops or decors of great taste when they are amazingly assembled. The famous mixtures of hardstones in the 17th century were amazing works of art, true objects of desire especially those coming from the factories of Rome and Florence. It was about combining with great mastery the splendor of the nature and the involuntary beauty of the colours and veining and the wise ability of the artisans. Towards the half of the 17th century, we witness the fantastic creation of combinations of veining, fragments, coloured slabs and sometimes rearranged in abstract motifs as to create a new page makeup on the nature of marble. Beyond countertops and consoles, such reinvented marble was used in the coating of the churches, as decorations of pavements and chapels, under the shape of mosaics or monuments’ bases. The passion for marbles lasted for the whole 18th century and, beyond the amazing pieces, scientific reports and studies on the matter also multiply. However, after the half of the 18th century, thanks to the archaeological discoveries of Pompei and Herculaneum and thanks to the new travellers of the Grand Tour, prevailed on the passion for marble, the production of countertops with sets of samples of hard stones, true souvenirs, much easier to transport while travelling, which are fragments of antiques and rare marbles that, combined with each other, would remind to the beauty of antiquities, once left Italy.
Still today, the countertops in mixtures of hard stones or antique set of samples are objects of research by collectors and designers. This is to prove that marble still tells us about the art of the past and at the same time the charm and the poetry of nature with its colours and smudged and rearranged veining.