sampietrini / rome pt. 1

The Via della Madonna dell’Orto (via is the Italian word for street) is paved with sampietrini. Chiseled from basalt found in the hills outside the city, they’re small, squarish stones, graphite-colored, and they fill the roads in uneven rows. If we weren’t in Rome, they’d be called cobblestones, but instead, they are sampietrini: “little Saint Peters.” There are supposedly as many stones in the streets of the city as there are souls saved by Saint Peter.