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Antique Italian Marble Top Coffee Table

Getting Victorian style is easy with marble.

When you want to anchor a living room or sitting area in a large bedroom consider an antique Italian marble top coffee table. It can provide the substantial look of luxury and timelessness you are looking for. As with all true antiques, you need to know something about what you are purchasing, as rarity as well as condition determines the market price.

Antique Italian Marble Top Coffee Table - From Rome with Love

Italy is the home of generations of master artisans, artists, and designers. At the peak of the Roman Empire, quarried marble was used at a frenetic pace to keep up with the demand for statues, pillars, columns, walls, and other architectural pieces. All that remains of those quarries now are indentations in the earth, as their marble supply has been long since used.

In addition to the white, red, and green marble from Italy, Rome also imported marble from Egypt in red, grey, and black, as well as purple from Tunisia and Turkey. When looking for an antique marble table with authentic Italian marble, it is important to remember that while the piece may have been crafted in Italy the color could imply an import - an antique import, but an import nevertheless!

The Oldest Italian Marble Table

A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is in order if you want to see one of the oldest and most famous antique Italian marble topped tables - the Farnese Table. Although not a coffee table, it was designed by the Italian architect Giacoma Barozzi da Vignola (1507-1573) for the state apartment of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. It is breathtaking with its inlay of different marbles and use of semi-precious stones.

It conveys the delicacy of the look of the type of marble and carving that can be found in an existing Italian coffee table. The look is hallmark to this type of furniture, despite its weight and massive appearance.

Italian marble tables are created by putting layers of marble together. The process allows for inlays and use of embellishment in the form of different materials from tile to gemstones.

Coffee Break

Antique Italian marble coffee tables enjoyed a surge throughout Europe and America in the mid-late 1800's. The Victorian era had a fascination with antiquities, and Italian marble tables were much in vogue. Per Franco er Marmista, one of Italy's foremost sellers and makers of marble tables, the marble that was used in antique tables was often pilfered from unprotected ancient sites, regions, and building columns. Because antique marble of this type no longer exists on the marketplace, a true coffee table from this era is very expensive - think in terms of $5,000 and up.

Even modern tables made today from the Franco er Marmista company are pricey and are regarded as an investment as a future antique. New marble techniques allow for the same creativity in design but without the weight (although they can weigh up to 300 lbs still) and longer length of the true antique piece.

How to Display

An antique Italian marble coffee table from the mid to late 1800's did not necessarily sit directly in front of a couch or soft as we have come to use it today. Their length made it probable that these tables may have sat against a wall or even behind a sofa, where servants could have access to pouring and serving beverages without interrupting the flow of conversation. As things became a little less stylized and the hostess began to enjoy pouring coffee and tea herself for her guests, the tables would have moved to stand in front of the sofa.

Again, an antique Italian marble top coffee table is generally a statement piece unto itself. While it anchors a room, design, it generally needs one of two extremes in furniture to allow it to work its charm in a room if used as a true coffee table. The furniture either must be delicate, or play off the color of the marble, or it must be heavier with square corners and a solid appearance.

Antique Italian Marble Top Coffee Table