ARCHITECTURE RESIDENTIAL HOME

’43 His wording reminds us of the important function of the roof as a catchment area for rainwater, which had to be collected in a continuous Istrian stone gutter around the roofline. Like the ceilings, roof timbers were of larch or pine. The rafters were closely spaced and overlaid with thinner purlins, above which a layer of flat tiles formed a base for the characteristic curved tiles, semicircular in section, on the top. 44 In all larger buildings a truss system had to be adopted to span the whole roof, either by placing the trusses over the internal partition walls, or using the so-called Palladian truss, from which the ceiling below could be suspended with iron straps. The need for flexibility also fostered the development in Venice of special types of flooring.45 In the simplest houses, the floors were merely bare wooden boards or sometimes brick tiles, with beaten earth in the ground-floor rooms. A more elegant surface, known as pastellon, was composed of ground tiles and bricks set in lime mortar and polished to bring out the red terracotta colour, which was intensified by the addition of the pigment cinnabar in the top layer. From the fifteenth century onwards, pastellon was largely superseded by a more decorative version called terrazzo. 46 In living apartments this surface, like pastellon, was 62 THE ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY OF VENICE laid on top of the boards covering the ceiling of the floor below.
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